Despite flashing arrow boards, speed warnings and barricades, many drivers don’t show down. Drivers are often fatigued, on the phone or simply in a hurry, oblivious not only to the worker, but their own safety.
In 2020 Illinois highway work zones, 25 drivers, eight passengers, two pedestrians and two workers, Larry and Mark Pirelli, were killed, lives and promise extinguished in a flash of slamming brakes and crumpling steel.
At 6 a.m. on April 28, the McLean County community will gather at Laborers Local 362 Hall for Workers’ Memorial Day. The early morning ceremony is a brief one. Over 400 names are read every year, a McLean County workplace fatality roll call – railroaders, coal miners, construction workers, government employee and over 100 United Asbestos and Rubber Company asbestosis victims who died a slow asphyxiation.
This year, a new name will join that sad list – Larry Williams. At Local 362’s entrance wall hangs photos of past workplace fatalities. For the first time since 1979, a new photo is joining that montage.
On the job and at every safety meeting, the mantra is repeated – work safe. Accidents happen but carelessness is often the cause. For Larry it was a speeding motorist. Put down the phone, heed the flashing arrow and the work zone speed sign. Remember Larry and drive safe, work safe and watch out for each other. The list needs no more names.
Mike Matejka lives in Normal.
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Columns,Region: Bloomington,City: Bloomington,Opinion,Region: Central
April 25, 2021 at 07:30AM