By Rachel Wulff

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — State workers who have died while working on the job are being honored on Thursday for the 32nd annual Caltrans workers memorial.

It comes in conjunction with Caltrans Safety Awareness week, with the moving memorial serving as a reminder of the dangers employees face.

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“This was the box that was on the back of the truck,” said Louie Stinson as he showed us what was left of the crash cushion that was on the back of his truck.

Stinson was working behind a sweeping operation last month when it happened.

“For a second, I looked over to the right and back in the mirror and there was a car coming that wasn’t slowing down or moving over,” Stinson said.

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The equipment is designed to protect employees and motorists by taking the impact of the crash.

“It’s scary to think that if this box was not on the truck … there definitely would have been a fatality,” Stinson said.

Caltrans says 189 employees have been killed while on the job since 1921. But there has not been a fatality in the last six years, in part because of a public awareness campaign to remind people to drive safely and pay attention in highway work zones – because workers have families who want them to come home.

The memorial was time to reflect on the realities on the road.

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“Everything worked the way it was designed to work. [I] just wish they would slow down. That’s all,” Stinson said. “The amber lights are just as important as blue lights.”