Four Essentials For Work Zone Safety

In the U.S., there are approximately 800 fatalities annually due to accidents in work zones. As a result, the safe and efficient flow of traffic through these zones has become a top priority for the Federal Highway Safety Administration and other agencies. The following guidelines from OSHA can assist in keeping work zones safe for everyone:

Planning: Construction project managers must determine traffic control plans within construction/demolition worksites to see what is necessary to ensure the safety of workers and those who drive through the work zone. Items to consider consist of traffic control devices, signals, and message boards instruct drivers to follow paths away from where work is being performed as well as approved traffic control devices such as cones, barrels, barricades, and delineator posts to be used inside work zones.

Work Zone Protections: Various concrete, water, sand, collapsible barriers, crash cushions, and truck-mounted attenuators can help limit motorist intrusions into construction work zones.

Flagging: Flaggers should wear high visibility clothing with a fluorescent background and made of retroreflective material. This makes employees visible for at least 1,000 feet in any direction. Check the label or packaging to ensure that the garments are performance class 2 or 3. Drivers should be warned with signs that there will be flaggers ahead. Flaggers should use STOP/SLOW paddles, paddles with lights, or flags (only in emergencies).

Lighting: Flagger stations should be illuminated. Lighting for employees on foot and for equipment operators should be at least 5 foot-candles or greater. Where available lighting is not sufficient, flares or chemical lighting should be used. Glare should be controlled or eliminated.