The Associated General Contractors of America will continue to provide highway work zone safety training classes next year, thanks to a new federal safety grant presented to the association. AGC will use a $120,000 Susan Harwood Training Grant from the U.S. Dept. of Labor to offer safety training classes designed to prevent injuries among highway, street and bridge construction workers, association officials said.

“No amount of safety gear will protect a worker if they get hit by a speeding vehicle,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “The best defense from crashes is teaching crews how to set up and operate safer work zones.”

According to the latest federal safety data, 962 workers were killed at road construction sites between 2003 and 2010. Meanwhile, a survey conducted by AGC earlier this year found that 50% of contractors had vehicles crash into their work zones during the past year. Even worse, workers are injured in 16% of those crashes and killed in 9% of them.

The highway work zone safety program will be offered in six locations beginning in January. Sandherr added that association expects the training to reach and protect thousands of workers on hundreds of jobsites by incorporating best practices that will be used over and over.

The program will provide comprehensive information about proper set-up of highway work zones, flagger safety and heavy equipment management, he added.

In addition to the highway work zone program, the association offers a variety of safety programs and materials that many member construction firms currently use to educate members about fall protection, crane safety and safety program management. The association offers educational materials to member firms, as well as online and in-class safety training programs.