7 Safety Tips For Road Construction Work Zones

construction site safety tips

America’s roads and infrastructure are aging and starting to crumble due to overuse.

As more drivers hit the road in the U.S., cities, and states are starting more road construction projects to keep their roads safe and efficient for drivers and pedestrians.

While there is a growing need for more road construction projects, states are starting to feel the pinch due to tighter budgets and a shrinking workforce. Even in the face of these variables, construction crews continue to take on high-risk projects on public roadways.

These projects continue to operate even as drivers whiz by workers, and this can put the safety of workers and the general public in jeopardy if specific safety procedures are not followed.

A safety management plan for construction traffic control can lessen the chance of accidents while it helps motorists reach destinations without undue delay.

Work zone safety tips that control the movement of vehicles and cumbersome equipment constitute an essential part of an effective management plan. Let’s take a look at seven ways construction crews and improve the safety and efficiency of road construction jobs today!

1. Use Personal Protective Equipment Every Day

Every road construction worker faces the risk of personal injury on the job. While there are always dangers in a work zone, one strategy to avoiding injury rests with wearing the proper safety equipment all the time within the work zone.

The specially designed personal protective equipment (PPE) that each worker must wear includes hard hats, hearing protection when necessary, highly visible clothing, and steel-toed boots. Regulations require the PPE to comply with or exceed the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) guidelines.

Road construction safety depends on the alertness of everyone on a work site. With jackets or shirts of visible reflective material for nighttime activities, employees can comply with regulations of ANSI Class 2 or 3.

2. Start Each Day With A Team Safety Meeting

The emphasis on safety at a job site provides a focus on the preparation of each worker for an accident-free day on the job. Starting each day out with a full training session provides the instruction on skills that each worker needs as a qualification for road construction.

These meetings also help your team come together to discuss the day’s activities and review different events for the day.

As a daily reminder of work zone safety tips and the importance of precaution, a quick meeting at the start of each day helps reinforce practices to keep workers safe while ensuring your project will continue efficiently.

Changing conditions require an update on scheduled tasks, potential hazards, and visual inspection to ensure that each worker wears the proper PPE for the day’s jobs.

Construction traffic control requires participation from the whole team to create a safe environment where everyone is watching out for other team members.

Some workers don’t like the fact that they have to attend a meeting every morning, but there is no doubt that these meetings foster a safer environment that can reduce hazards and deter accidents.

3. Control Traffic Flow

The most significant risk to construction workers is the dangers of getting hit by oncoming traffic. Motorists deserve to know when to expect changes in a traffic route in time to safely accomplish maneuvers that prevent accidents or disruptions during road work construction.

An advanced warning area for a work zone consists of components that help ensure road construction safety for drivers and workers.

  • Create a buffer area to separate workers and equipment from oncoming traffic.
  • Use lots of lighting and other equipment like traffic cones and barricades to physically separate traffic and workers.
  • Redirect traffic when needed to bypass areas where workers and equipment can interfere with traffic.
  • Clearly mark where work zones begin and end, so drivers know where they need to be extra cautious.

It is essential to maintain a proper work zone to ensure the safety and efficiency of construction crews.

You should use appropriate traffic control equipment to signal drivers around dangerous areas and keep public roads moving normal, even around active construction projects.

4. Designate A Site-Specific Safety Program

The conditions that define each road construction project vary according to the unique hazards and challenges that may exist in each work zone.

You need to design a safety program that must meet the characteristics of each site to help ensure the likelihood of preventing accidents.

The design of an effective program requires each plan to include contributing factors that affect each road construction worker.

  • Identify all hazards in the area like power lines, oncoming traffic, and pedestrian walkways.
  • Plans that help control and mitigate potential dangers.
  • Schedules that ensure inspection of equipment and material throughout the duration of your construction project.
  • Preparation for first aid and emergency response plans.
  • Availability of emergency medical care in case of accidents.
  • Schedule of safety training program classes for all employees.

You should have a safety program in place that addresses the unique needs of your construction project.

Your team should have a plan based on the surroundings, weather, and other factors.

5. Ensure All Workers Have A Clean Line Of Site

Blind spots can create dangers that remove the safeguards that work zone safety tips provide. With the numerous pieces of equipment that construction jobs require, the potential for job site accidents tends to increase.

Mirrors, visual aids, and backup alarms help operators of compactors, dump trucks, rollers, and pavers maintain safety on the job.

Even though safety devices can help prevent accidents, each person on a road work construction project needs to maintain visual contact with the driver.

While a designated observer may have responsibility for on-site conditions, each worker holds a share of road construction safety as well.

6. Make Safety A Personal Responsibility

With the high level of activity that exists in a work zone, each road construction worker needs to take precautions for personal safety. Whenever possible, workers must face on-coming traffic to maintain eye contact with approaching vehicles.

Designated workers can serve as spotters who alert others to moving vehicles or the potential for danger that a worker may not see. Each person in a work zone can contribute to safety on the job site by providing construction traffic control that helps prevent accidents.

An essential aspect of personal responsibility requires workers to drink an adequate amount of liquids. Anyone who performs road work construction faces the elements and the heat of the sun all day, conditions that can cause dehydration.

The internal heat of asphalt generates excessively high temperatures that create sweat that cools the body and helps prevent heat-related illnesses. Workers can combat the debilitating effects by drinking sports drinks or coconut water to replenish essential electrolytes and resist heat exhaustion.

A rest period that allows workers to retreat from sun exposure and seek relief in the shade can contribute to a productive workday and prevent illness.

7. Designate A Job Site Safety Officer

A highly responsible person must perform intensive supervision of all activities on a job site to ensure worker safety. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration requires a designated person to identify hazards or dangers in working conditions and to eliminate them.

Regular inspections of worksite conditions allow the responsible person to reduce the potential for accidents.

The selection of appropriate PPE constitutes a significant duty of the person who serves as an on-site safety manager. Workers must report any hazards or equipment that can pose dangers on a job site so that the person-in-charge can correct any deficiencies.

A vital aspect of an on-site safety manager requires full time attention to conditions on the job. A lapse of focus that prevents observation of moving vehicles or the development of a potentially hazardous task can allow a severe accident to occur.

Make Your Job Site Safer & More Efficient Today!

Active construction sites are dangerous, and this is especially true for road construction projects.

Your team has to remain vigilant to ensure oncoming traffic does not hit worker or construction equipment, and your team also has to think about the safety of pedestrians and drivers on public roads.

You can implement the above safety tips for safer construction work zones today to ensure your construction projects are more reliable and more efficient!

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Author: Chris Giarratana

Chris is a Digital Media Strategy and AdWords management consultant in Orlando, FL. He develops marketing strategies for small businesses, researches emerging technologies, and enjoys studying transportation issues.

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