3 steps to enhance freeway work zone security

The next is from Mark Ludewig, vp of security for North Canton, Ohio-based site visitors administration companies agency Space Vast Protecting. Opinions are the writer’s personal.

Street work zones are hazardous.

Employees and flaggers who construct and defend our roadways will not be the one ones in danger. Many motorists and pedestrians additionally die in accidents involving non permanent work zones every year.

With velocity limits creeping upward in lots of states, extra tractor trailers on the highway than ever, rising congestion in city facilities and the worrying pattern of distracted driving, building professionals and protectors have a harmful job that’s solely rising extra hazardous. 

Headshot of Mark Ludewig

Mark Ludewig

Permission granted by Space Vast Protecting


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reviews that from 2011 to 2020, transportation occasions accounted for 73% of employee deaths that occurred at highway building websites throughout that interval. In 63% of those occasions, the employee was struck by a automobile, with 371 of 577 employees being struck by a forward-moving automobile.

Dangers are ever-present in freeway work zones and are rising. Maintain studying to study the three important elements of an efficient freeway work zone security technique.

Half 1: Setup

Arrange work zones in a approach that maximizes safety for freeway employees. All the time begin by contemplating those who’re on the best danger for damage. The additional care can go a protracted option to making employees really feel protected whereas performing their duties.

Full work at evening every time doable to reduce site visitors quantity and daytime distractions. Clear, efficient communication with jobsite group members can be made simpler by the discount in noise. Workers extra employees for work zones spanning bigger areas; take into account using more-experienced personnel corresponding to former cops, safety guards and emergency responders who instinctively apply security coaching to every little thing they do. 

Work carefully with native regulation enforcement to safe the positioning. Legislation enforcement raises general alertness to the work zone and helps scale back dashing amongst different harmful driving behaviors. Working with regulation enforcement companies early within the planning course of may determine any project-specific issues or wants.

Use the correct security gear, together with truck-mounted attenuators (TMA), arrow boards and indicators/message boards. Vans that use TMAs are constructed to fulfill all work zone security necessities and are meant to soak up the influence of a high-speed crash, typically lowering harm to the automobile and saving employees’ lives. 

Arrow boards ought to be positioned on the shoulder in the beginning of the merging taper or, the place there isn’t any shoulder, within the closed lane behind the channeling units. One arrow board ought to be used for every journey lane closed and mustn’t encroach into any a part of the usable site visitors area. All indicators or message boards have to be clear and legible, in good working order and retroreflective to make them seen day and evening.

Half 2: Coaching

Guarantee group members are correctly educated and observe mandatory security protocols. This straightforward step helps to eradicate fatalities and life-altering accidents that consequence from a automobile getting into the work zone. It additionally eliminates at-risk behaviors that might lead to a automobile accessing the work zone.

Full a pre-job security briefing led by the positioning supervisor, together with preparation of an escape route and apply. This may additionally determine hazards in proximity to the work zone (e.g., obstructions to visibility, industrial exercise, animals and bugs, and so forth.). A briefing ought to be accomplished in the beginning of each job and a brand new briefing is required if the work project or environmental circumstances change, if there are modifications in personnel, or as further hazards are acknowledged.

Onsite employees and protectors ought to at all times stay vigilant and alert to acknowledge harmful site visitors conditions. Personnel ought to be educated — and regularly reminded — to at all times put on acceptable visible/audio site visitors management PPE for the actual project, by no means flip their again on site visitors, test their place for a number of routes of escape to keep away from being injured by a reckless automobile and defend themselves first — then use a storm whistle to alert others to the hazard.

Jobsites must also have a certified observer to watch altering site visitors circumstances and warn coworkers of potential risks. An observer is vital to defending employees who’re establishing non permanent site visitors management units or who could also be eradicating units or particles from the roadway.

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