More American workers are killed from transportation incidents, including being hit by vehicles or mobile equipment, than any other type of workplace incident, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Whether they oversee emergency responders, clean-up, utility, demolition or construction crews that work near moving vehicles and traffic, employers must protect their workers from the potentially fatal hazards of working near traffic.
The first step to securing the safety of roadside workers is to establish a work zone, which alters the flow of traffic to create a buffer between employees and moving vehicles. The authority in charge, be it federal, state, or local, will determine the configuration of the temporary traffic control zone for motorists and pedestrians, while the project manager must determine the internal traffic control plan within the worksite.
After establishing the work zone and new traffic routes, employers and authorities must work together to ensure all involved parties understand the altered routes, and that workers are protected in case communication fails. Successful work zone traffic management includes:
- Signage: The authority in charge will determine which approved traffic control devices should be used to direct motorists on paths away from work zones. These include standard traffic control devices, signals and message boards, as well as cones, barrels, barricades and delineator posts. These standard devices should also be used inside the work zone.
- Protection: Employers can use any combination of various concrete, water, sand, collapsible barriers, crash cushions and truck-mounted attenuators to help limit motorist intrusions into construction work zones.
- Flagging: Workers providing temporary traffic control should wear high visibility clothing so that they can be seen from at least 1,000 feet in any direction. They should also warn drivers in advance by using signs stating a flagger is ahead.
For a site specific safety plan that can reduce employee risk at your workplace, or for more general health and safety training, contact Safety Advantage today.