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Construction Work Zones Worksite Safety

Worksite safety is critical on construction work zones

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation incidents and workers struck by vehicles or mobile equipment account for the highest number of fatal work injuries. Risk of injury is always present.

A traffic control plan guides the movement of vehicles through the work zone and within the construction/demolition worksite. Drivers, workers on foot and pedestrians must be able to see and understand the routes they are to follow.

Signage includes standard highway signs for information, speed limits, and work zones to assist motorists as well as construction workers in identifying designated traffic paths. It may also include signs that a flagger is ahead or to mark things such as closed areas. When used properly, signage gives motorists plenty of advanced warning of the work zone.

Traffic control devices (i.e., cones, barrels, barricades and delineator posts) instruct motorists the path to follow.

Work zone protections include various styles of concrete, water, sand, collapsible barriers, crash cushions and truck mounted attenuators which limit motorist intrusions into the work zone.

Flaggers provide temporary traffic control and should wear high visibility clothing with a background of fluorescent orange-red or yellow-green and retroreflective material. This personal protective equipment makes the worker visible for at least 1,000 feet.

Lighting for workers on foot and equipment operators is to be at least 5 foot-candles or greater. If available lighting isn’t sufficient, flares or chemical lighting should be used.

Low visibility, such as working at night, creates additional hazards, so active work zones need to be properly lit. Lighting of the work site can be done by using lamps or portable lights that illuminate the work area. You want enough light so you can see where you’re going and what you’re doing. Poorly lit worksites increase your workers’ exposure to common construction hazards by hiding holes and tripping hazards.

For those working at night, getting the proper sleep is important. Fatigue impairs cognitive abilities, which might include one’s judgement/focus and the ability to handle dangerous equipment or to move safely about the work zone.

Safety on the construction site or work zone is everyone’s responsibility.

Planning for traffic flow; having the right signage, devices and protections along with proper lighting, appropriate PPE and flaggers help make your work zone safety a priority.

Resource for You

OSHA Work Zone Traffic Safety

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