Road work signs are a common sight on your drive around town. Workers are upgrading highways, neighborhood streets and other roadways to keep people safe. Accomplishing road work and providing improvements on highways are essential jobs, and worker safety is the number one priority.
Road construction sites expose workers to potential hazards and teams should understand the measures they need to take to keep everyone safe. Learn about different road work safety tips to follow and how to create an efficient safety plan for construction workers and drivers.
10 Safety Tips for Road Construction Workers
Road construction plays a vital role in maintaining the roadways in our country. However, the job can be a dangerous one — in the U.S., fatal work zone crashes increased by 1.4% between 2019 and 2020. Workers also face potential hazards from heavy equipment, drivers, pedestrians and over-exertion.
Coming up with ways to increase your construction team’s safety will impact their well-being and the well-being of drivers on the road. Provide your highway construction workers with safety guidelines to keep everyone on the same page. For tips on how to do so, check out these methods to ensure safety in road construction.
1. Create a Plan
Every successful job starts with a plan to accomplish the work safely and efficiently. Your plan should include safety aspects like:
- Safety equipment.
- Job specifications for each worker.
- Proper barriers.
- A survey of the job site.
A comprehensive plan will help ensure that your construction team has everything they need to get the job done.
2. Effectively Control Traffic
Every road work area needs safety signage and equipment to notify drivers of driving conditions. You’ll need signage signaling any lane closures, work areas and speed limit change to keep drivers alert and protect your team.
All of your traffic safety devices, including barriers, signs and cones, must comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. You’ll also need to check for any additional requirements from the local State Highway Safety Office.
3. Wear Proper Safety Gear
Every person working inside the road construction area must wear proper safety equipment at all times. Common personal protection equipment (PPE) that workers will need on-site includes:
- Hard hats
- Visible clothing
- Work boots
- Hearing protection
Highly visible clothing includes fluorescent vests, shirts and other reflective items easy for drivers and machine operators to spot. This gear is essential for highway construction safety when it’s dark outside to keep workers safe at night and in the early morning.
4. Hold Safety Meetings
Keeping your team informed of all current safety precautions and procedures is essential for a safe and productive job. Weekly safety meetings effectively keep your team up to date on all current road construction safety hazards and control measures.
Teams should hold safety meetings at the beginning of every week. A weekly check-in helps ensure that every person is on the same page regarding safety measures. Safety meetings are also a great time to check on the team’s PPE and safety gear.
5. Stay Hydrated
Overexertion is a common highway worker safety concern, especially if they’re working long hours in the heat.
Dark asphalt absorbs a majority of the sun’s rays and heats the air around the ground. The extra heat — mixed with manual labor and limited water — quickly leads to overexertion and dehydration.
Road construction workers should always have plenty of water on hand to stay hydrated and ways to restore electrolytes they lose to sweat.
6. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Because construction workers often have to handle various tasks in a day on the worksite, they may try to focus solely on the task at hand to get that job done faster. However, it’s important for workers to be aware of their surroundings outside their immediate activity to ensure the whole team stays safe.
If possible, workers should face traffic when working on the job site. Facing traffic can help them spot and avoid potential dangers from drivers encroaching on the work zone.
7. Spot Potential Hazards
Noting all potential hazards in a work zone can help a construction team take action quickly. These hazards may include animals crossing the road, oncoming traffic, pedestrian crosswalks, severe weather or power lines. Taking notice of these hazards before workers arrive at the worksite can keep everyone aware of their surroundings.
8. Hire a Safety Officer
Having a specific person or team in charge of safety on the job can greatly benefit highway construction workers. A dedicated safety officer can provide the oversight a construction team requires to work efficiently.
OSHA recommends having a trained and experienced person identify potential hazards and unsafe working conditions that require corrective measures. This person will have the skillset to choose the right PPE for workers and select the proper barriers and signage for job sites.
9. Practice Communication Signals
Construction sites can be loud and busy, especially when the job site is on the highway. With cars passing at high speeds and heavy machinery operating, it can be challenging for workers to communicate with each other. Establishing hand signals for communication can help relay important safety messages to everyone.
10. Prevent Blind Spots
Heavy equipment and construction vehicles are constantly moving throughout road construction sites. Equipment can include excavators, rollers, bucket trucks, compactors or pavers. Staying safe on large pieces of equipment is essential for the operator, other workers and civilians. Before equipment operators start using heavy equipment, they should inspect all mirrors and safety features on the unit to ensure they’ve accounted for all blind spots.
Workers near heavy equipment and other construction vehicles should be on alert for everyone’s safety. The driver will have limited visibility, so being aware of these units while on the job site is crucial for preventing accidents and keeping people safe.
Explore Products for Your Next Job
Staying safe and using high-quality construction materials can keep construction work productive. The right products can help you get the job done right.
Are you looking for an asphalt or concrete supplier for your next road construction job? Union Quarries is your next go-to supplier for products like:
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