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Moment of silence held for Caltrans workers killed on the job

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On Thursday morning, an impaired driver drove through a Caltrans work area at the northbound onramp to U.S. Route 101 from Singley Road, causing a worker to be struck by another vehicle. The Caltrans employee was not injured and the driver suffered minor injuries, but accidents that have taken the lives of Caltrans workers over the years was the focus on Thursday for Caltrans Highway Workers Memorial Day.

Caltrans districts around the state observed a moment of silence on Thursday morning in honor of the 183 Caltrans workers killed on the job since 1921. District 1 workers gathered at the District Office in Eureka to observe their moment of silence. Fifteen Caltrans workers in District 1 have died on the job, with the most recent death occurring in 2005. This year, two Caltrans workers were killed while working. Caltrans officials say highway construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

"Highway workers are seven times more likely than other workers to be injured and what we do is inherently dangerous.  We go through all of the possible safety procedures.  We try to make sure that we have vehicles in place to protect our workers but it's still hazardous," said Brad Mettam, the Caltrans Deputy District Director for Planning and Local Assistance for District 1.