Road Construction Work Sites: Safety Tips

Hotter weather means that road maintenance season has begun, which implies that more and more work zones are appearing on our highways, interstates, and streets. It is also the period of year when more drivers hit the road to drive longer distances to the mountains, beach, and other holiday destinations.

As per the Bureau of Labour Statistics’ (BLS) 2015 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), 136 construction workers died as a result of road traffic accidents. There were 66 accidents with other cars, 33 accidents with items other than vehicles, and 37 no collision accidents such as flipped or jack-knifed vehicles. Another 20 people were killed in non-roadway accidents involving motor vehicles.

24 of the 49 pedestrian vehicular accidents involved pedestrians being hit in work areas.

Make a Strategy

A highway management plan should be included in any road construction project. A temporary traffic management plan should be included in the plan to protect staff by safely directing traffic around or via the work zone. You should also have an internal traffic management plan in place to handle the movement of heavy machinery, construction vehicles, and workers.

Controlling Traffic Properly

The work zone should include an early warning area with danger signs alerting motorists to impending changes in traffic conditions, a diversion area with traffic control systems for road closures and traffic pattern changes, a buffer area, the work station, and a termination area to enable traffic to resume regular operations, and a sign signalling that the work zone has stopped.

All traffic control devices, including cones, barriers, barrels, and signs, must adhere to any state agency specifications. Traffic management plan for construction sites is quite crucial.

Establish Separate Work Areas

Road building work zones are normally busy places with many work activities going on at the same time. To prevent accidents, use barrels, cones, and barriers to precisely define particular areas of the working area, such as storage facilities, areas where heavy machinery is used, car parks, and secure areas for employees on foot to walk about in.

Wear Proper Safety Equipment

Both workers working in the work zone should wear appropriate protective equipment. Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes steel toed boots, hard hats, highly visible footwear, and ear plugs, based on noise levels.

All personal protective equipment (PPE) should exceed or meet the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) established standards. All high visibility apparel, whether a jacket, vest, or shirt, should be bright neon orange or lime/yellow with clear reflective material, particularly if working at night, and therefore should meet ANSI Class 2 or 3 requirements.

Be Conscious of Your Environment

Irrespective of your job duties in the workplace, you should still be aware of what is going on around you. Avoid going behind cars that are backing up or into the swinging radius of heavy machinery.

If needed, face traffic when within the working area or have a spotter on hand when you turn your back. Spotters can also be used to track the movement of cars and heavy machinery inside the work zone, as well as traffic, to alert staff to possible hazards.