Press release by NIPSCO:

Merrillville, Ind. – With area schools being out for summer break, NIPSCO encourages parents and family members to have conversations with teens and young children about how to stay safe near and around construction zones this summer.

Construction and work zone safety is especially important as northern Indiana communities are experiencing surges of economic growth resulting in an increase of road expansion projects, new residential and business builds, park recreational facilities, multiplex centers, advancements in medical facilities and a rise in utility work in local neighborhoods.

The National Safety Council states that the construction industry employs more than 7.5 million workers in the United States – playing a significant role in supporting our economy.

As major contributor of regional and state economic expansion, NIPSCO has invested more than $2.7 billion dollars in building, modernizing, and enhancing its infrastructure in the last decade to better serve customers and communities now and into the future. This investment is done through hundreds of individual natural gas and electric construction projects, including an estimated 144 electrical substation rebuilds, 420 miles of electrical distribution wire, 11,475 new utility poles, nine new gas transmission facilities, 44 miles of new gas transmission pipeline, and many safety and enhancement programs that add new technology to the system.

“At NIPSCO, we are driven by the mission to deliver safe and reliable energy to our customers,” says Matthew Ireland, NIPSCO Safety Manager. “Safety is paramount in everything we do, and we want members of the communities we serve to stay safe this summer in and around construction and work zones by increasing their awareness and taking the necessary steps to help keep our employees, contractors and the public out of harm’s way.”

To help encourage awareness and reduce risk, NIPSCO would like to share a few critical safety tips for the summer construction season:

• Do not walk, run, ride, or play around/in construction sites or equipment. Especially
near dirt piles or open trenches.
• Always walk in the designated walkway or sidewalk to avoid injury. Be alert of signage
and sidewalks.
• Avoid being distracted by using any handheld devices whether it is talking, texting,
playing games, listening to music or any other distractions while in a construction zone.
• If possible, avoid construction sites. Injury from debris or heavy machinery is possible.
• Stop, look, and listen for construction vehicles and equipment.
• Often smaller than equipment, adults and children should protect themselves by making
eye contact with equipment operators to be seen.
• Read construction signs to know what to do in these zones.
• Keep Alert, falling objects are possible.
• Listen/watch for instruction by construction workers or flaggers to ensure safety.
• Stay outside of the orange cones, construction fence, and chain link areas.
According to the National Safety Council, work zone deaths have increased 63 percent since
2010. Fatality data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows an average of 55 worker-
pedestrians are killed per year after being struck by vehicles in work zones.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Please remember to take time out of your day to prepare for upcoming tasks and to have conversations about staying safe with family members.