Roadside Worker Safety
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Workers on roadway construction sites are exposed to low visibility, severe weather, and traffic from the road and heavy construction equipment, making the job extremely hazardous. While they have safety training, the drivers on the road do not, so it is important to behave accordingly.
In 2012, 130 worker fatalities happened on road construction sites, with 67 percent of these involving a pedestrian worker being stuck by a vehicle, often at night.
Safe Practices For Site Supervisors:
- Provide training for all workers on the site.
- Design worksites to minimize the need for vehicles and equipment to have to go in reverse; traveling in reverse only complicates the traffic situation on a site.
- Post signs to clearly inform motorists of approaching activity and to guide drivers.
- Use visual safety devices, such as cones, retro reflective barrels, and portable barricades, and flares, to get the attention of motorists and deter construction vehicles and equipment away from workers.
- Provide adequate lighting and warning signs. All signs used at night must be retro-reflective.
- Consider reducing the speed of vehicular traffic, mainly through regulatory speed zoning, funneling, lane reduction, or the use of flaggers; ask for assistance from law enforcement if necessary.
Safe Practices For Roadside Workers:
- Always wear high visibility apparel.
- Wear PPE, such as hard hats and hearing protection, depending on the type of work being done.
- Be aware of equipment travel paths and avoid standing or walking in these areas.
- Listen for reverse signal alarms in the area.
- Know where blind spots exist for different types of equipment.
- Never use a cell phone when working around heavy machinery.
- Remember your safety training.
Safe Practices For Roadside Vehicle & Equipment Operators:
- Maintain contact with a spotter when backing any vehicle or equipment. If contact with the spotter is lost, STOP immediately.
- Inspect your vehicle, equipment, and safety devices (reverse alarm, mirrors, and windows) at the beginning of each shift and report any deficiencies to your supervisor or employer.
- Remove any defective equipment from service until repairs are made.
Until next time, stay positive and stay safe.