Featured Image Caption: Warning Sign
Construction sites on or near roadways aren’t just dangerous for the public, they put workers at significant risk. The danger to workers can be reduced, however, if proper safety protocols, signage, barriers, and other protections are in place. However, it is up to supervisors and worksite managers to initiate and require these. Support the health and safety of your construction workplace by implementing these traffic control tips.
Use Standard Signage
Make it easy for drivers who must pass through a construction site by using signage they will recognize. They will expect to see a “Work Zone Ahead” sign, and they will expect that “Do Not Enter,” “Stop,” and other signs have the same shape and color as others in the jurisdiction. Don’t confuse them with homemade or nonstandard signage.
Correctly Deploy Barriers
Smart use of barriers is essential to good traffic control. Orange barrels, cones, and barricades establish a work zone perimeter that is off-limits to the public. You can also use these to guide drivers through traffic as these barriers show when merges and other dangers are ahead. Traffic control barriers are essential for separating drivers and pedestrians from work crews and for helping everyone notice and avoid ditches, shoulder drop-offs, and other hazards common around construction zones.
Train Flaggers Well
A well-trained flagger can successfully control traffic, preventing accidents and increasing driver confidence in a construction zone. Flaggers can monitor traffic to make sure it keeps moving. Backed-up roads frustrate drivers and increase their aggression as they pass workers. While some frustration is often unavoidable, proper guidance and supervision can decrease it. Flagging should be done by workers who have proper training, not whoever happens to be closest.
Work zone illumination is essential to a safe construction workplace because employees make mistakes in poor lighting and drivers can’t see what they need to avoid. Additionally, OSHA sets minimum lighting standards for many types of work zones. Flares, flashing LEDs, and barricade reflectors are part of the lighting plan. Just make sure your work lights don’t create glares or blind drivers.
Think About Pedestrians
When a work zone includes a crosswalk or sidewalk, signage and barricades should be used to indicate hazards for those on foot and help them avoid areas of high worker activity. In some cases, a flagger specifically for pedestrians may be the best way to make sure people aren’t walking through a construction zone when it isn’t safe to do so. In other cases, simply ensure that the car flagger keeps an eye out for pedestrians and can motion for them to cross when it’s safe to do so.
A safe construction site for workers and the public requires promoting awareness, reducing risks, and always putting safety first. When smart traffic movement procedures are in place and workers are trained to think about safety for everyone in the area at every moment, construction projects can be completed without injuries from either workers or members of the public.
By Anita Ginsburg
who is a freelance writer and residing in Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. She recommends investing in traffic control equipment and training to protect your employees.