Many of us encounter construction workers in their bright orange vests or the safety green tshirts. These garments are designed to keep the workers safe, and they are required to be worn and meet special criteria by the FHWA, the Federal Highway Administration.
Federal Highway Administration
The Federal Highway Administration is a component of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Specifically, it covers most anything having to do with the highways: construction, design, and maintenance. This also includes those doing construction on the roads. Some pretty eye-opening statistics show just how dangerous working along a highway can be. More than 100 people die and 20,000 are injured every single year. To make this statistic drop, the FHWA put in place a rule that requires workers to put on high-visibility ANSI Class 2 or 3 safety vests. These vibrant lime t-shirtsgives workers the simple benefit of visibility, which is often not so great on a highway.
These safety vests are vital, seeing as working near the highway is such a dangerous job. Not only are construction workers required to wear them, but EMTs, police officers, and many others whose jobs bring them close to busy highways. Various other safety tools can be used by workers to help raise safety, from lighted traffic cones to portable spotlights to hard hats.
The FHWA has a very long history. It’s undergone many changes as highways became more and more of an important component of life in the US. The FHWA we know today was officially established in 1966, but it had many early prototypes. The first ever was the Office of Road Inquiry, established in 1893. Later, in 1905, it got its name changed to the Office of Public Roads and was a part of the Department of Agriculture. A decade later, it once again was changed to the Bureau of Public Roads, and in 1939,it became the Public Roads Administration. In 1949, it became the Bureau of Public Roads again, finally becoming the Federal Highway Administration in 1966.
All Concerns Involved
Covering topics including environmental concerns, making the most technologically advanced highways, and safety for those both constructing and using the roads, the FHWA is involved in more than just building roads. They are also currently working on various projects, including one for increasing safety at toll plazas for both the workers and the drivers. There is also a program for making roads as efficient as possible in order to reduce emissions. Yet another program focuses on congestion relief, that is, trying to make roads accessible for the growing population in the US. They also have programs for motorcycle safety, as well as for roads and bridges in Native American Reservations.
Honestly, a huge chunk of American life is traveling, whether it’s to work, to the grocery store, or to visit family. Much of this traveling takes place on the highways that are regulated by the FHWA, and they help make this traveling so easy. Since so many fatalities happen on the road the FHWA is stepping up when it comes to safety. With new programs, such as the one that requires construction workers to have on the safety green t-shirts while they work or lime t-shirts, they are making America’s highways safer.