Safety Corner Blog

April 2021 – Tornado & Severe Weather | Work Zone Safety | Distracted Driving | Workers Memorial Day

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Safety Corner, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Division of Worker's Compensation (DWD/WC) safety blog! I'm using this forum to share some of the current, pertinent safety news and information that I receive from my network of workplace safety professionals and pass along to employers and organizations across Wisconsin.

April is Tornado and Severe Weather month. Wisconsin's annual Statewide Tornado–Severe Thunderstorms & Lighting Emergency Alert System (EAS) live code test, triggered by the National Weather Service, is scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday, April 15. The EAS live code "test" is designed to trigger National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Alert Radios and the Wisconsin broadcast television and radio network's severe weather alert stations. At 1:45pm and 6:45pm on Thursday, April 15, anyone near a device set up to receive those alerts should see or hear a message advising them of the drill. Many communities also participate by sounding their outdoor warning sirens during the EAS drill times.

During the severe weather alert drill, everyone in the state is encouraged to discuss and practice their plans on what to do during a tornado warning. For many people, this includes going to their designated tornado shelter, whether they are at school, work, or home. Additional details can be accessed through your local emergency response agencies or online.

"April showers bring ... no-op! - Orange construction barrels!" April is also National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW). Road and construction traffic pose an obvious and well-recognized hazard to highway/road construction work zone workers. Nationally, 2019 saw 762 work zone crashes, resulting in 842 fatalities. Wisconsin saw 19 crashes and 21 fatalities.¹

The NWZAW is an annual spring campaign held at the start of construction season to encourage safe driving through highway work zones. The key message is for drivers to slow down, practice defensive driving, and use extra caution in work zones. Additional work zone safety information and resources can be accessed at the American Traffic Safety Services Association and workzonesafety.org.

Distracted Driving is a major cause of Work Zone and all traffic accidents/fatalities. In 2019, an estimated 38,800 people lost their lives to car crashes nationally – a 2% decline from 2018.² Wisconsin saw 511 motor vehicle fatalities - a 10% decline from 2018.³ Don't become a Distracted Driving statistic!

Motor vehicle safety is one of the most important aspects of roadway safety as millions of workers use motor vehicles to commute or as part of their jobs. In 2019, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S. at 40%.⁴ This 40% figure has remained consistent since the late 1980s, signifying we all have work to still do on safe driving.

Visit the National Work Zone Awareness website for safe driving and distracted driving safety training resources.

For additional information and resources:

The last week of April each year serves to recognize Workers Memorial Day, April 28, to honor the victims of workplace injury and illness, deaths, and to keep the promise of safe jobs for all workers. April 28, 2021, marks the 50 year anniversary of the signing of the Federal OSHA Act into law on April 28, 1971. Watch for your local OSHA Area Office, labor organizations, and various safety organizations promotions recognizing this ongoing annual Workers Memorial Day observance.

As a look ahead, the first week in May is traditionally the OSHA National Stand Down Week for Preventing Falls in the Construction campaign (in-person worksite activities subject to current COVID19 protocols). May is also National Electric Safety (NEC) month; and, also recognizes Police/EMS/Trauma weeks. May is safe boating/water safety month with the onset of summer recreational water activities picking up. More information to follow as we approach May.

Have a Safe Day, Always!!

Dave Leix, CSP, Safety & Risk Manager - Bio: Dave Leix - CSP, Safety & Risk Manager

¹ https://www.workzonesafety.org/crash-information/work-zone-fatal-crashes-fatalities/#national

² https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/fatality-estimates

³ https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/about-wisdot/newsroom/statistics/final.aspx

https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0331.htm

Contact Information:

  • Mike Anamendolla

    Dave brings over 40 years of professional safety and health (EHS) consulting and managerial experience to his role as Safety & Risk Manager for DWD's Worker's Compensation Division. He presents at a variety of association/industry trade group safety and risk management training events. Full bio for Dave Leix.


    201 E. Washington Avenue - Room C100
    (608) 266-4541 – direct
    (608) 266-6827 - fax
    David.Leix@dwd.wisconsin.gov