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ATSSA members seek to make a difference through Roadway Worker Protection Summit

Preventing work zone tragedies is goal No. 1; resources help when tragedies arise

The first time Kathi Holst lost an employee in a work zone incident was decades ago but she vividly remembers the heartache and overwhelming desire to closet herself off from the world. 

Instead, she had to keep going and deal with the myriad issues that arise from such a tragedy.

Doug Dolinar is still reeling from the death of an employee just six months ago.

Those experiences motivated Holst, president & CEO of RCMS in Naperville, Ill., and Dolinar, president of Guidemark Inc. of Souderton, Pa., to take part in ATSSA’s Roadway Worker Protection Summit scheduled for Feb. 8 as the kickoff event for the Association’s 51st Annual Convention & Traffic Expo.

The Convention runs from Feb. 8-12 and 16-18 and is being held online.

The Roadway Worker Protection Summit will be held from 10 a.m. to noon EST on Feb. 8. ATSSA Vice President of Education & Technical Services Donna Clark will moderate the panel with Dave Krahulec, chair of The ATSS Foundation and president of Horizon Signal Technologies Inc. in Reading, Pa.

The Summit’s purpose is twofold: to discuss tips for preventing work zone incidents and to assemble resources for dealing with work zone tragedies. The Summit is seen as a starting point for tackling a critical roadway safety issue.

Holst said what separates the roadway safety infrastructure industry from some others when it comes to losing an employee is that most businesses in the industry are family owned and that employees may be family members of the owners, relatives who work together, or people who recruited friends to the field.

Those close ties make the losses especially hard and can bring guilt into the grief. And when co-workers are eyewitnesses to the death or injury, it compounds the trauma.

“I tell my stories as often as I can,” said Holst, who is a longtime member of ATSSA’s Board of Directors. “I want to prevent it from happening and for people to be prepared if they have to face this.”

Dolinar, who also serves on the board, said he didn’t initially know what to do. That “horrible feeling” he experienced in August left him motivated to do something to make a difference.

Preventing another tragedy is his goal and he said that raising awareness of preventive measures is where safety begins.

“It starts,” he said, “with our workers being in their A game all the time.”

Register for ATSSA’s 51st Annual Convention & Traffic Expo to participate in the Roadway Worker Protection Summit.

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