Road construction workers face many hazards on the job site. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, road construction claimed the lives of 609 workers from 2011 to 2015, with deaths resulting from a combination of pedestrian vehicular incidents and vehicular incidents occurring on the job site.
Whether you are a contractor, construction worker or motorist passing through a work zone, we are all responsible for work zone safety and minimizing the risk of serious injury or death.
How Contractors Can Make Road Work Safer
Planning & Layout
Planning is the first and most important step toward creating an environment that protects roadside construction workers from harm. Pre-planning the layout of the job site, for example, mitigates the risk of worker injury in low visibility areas or during overnight hours. If the job is taking place in a high-speed or high-traffic area, contractors can implement appropriate traffic control measures to warn drivers of upcoming construction, reduce speed limits or reroute traffic as necessary.
Additionally, designating operational and leadership roles before work commences can eliminate confusion around job functions and responsibilities, ensuring everyone is aligned and working together to move the project forward safely.
Construction sites are inherently loud — and roadside construction zones are among the loudest. The clear exchange of information across workers is a fundamental component of a safe job site, requiring communication channels that reach workers in all areas at the same time. Ensuring everyone has a proper two-way communication device — and that everyone is tuned into the same channel — is critical to facilitating effective communication across the job site.
Know Your Conditions
Contractors must have an innate pulse on the conditions that can potentially compromise safety, including location, weather and time of day.
Special precautions must be taken for night work, as lower visibility for both motorists and workers leads to a higher risk of accidents. Reflective apparel and devices, proper sign placement and thorough on-the-job training are just a few measures contractors must take to protect everyone’s safety.
Best Practices for Road Worker Safety
If you’ve been assigned to work on a highway construction site, stay safe on the job by following these guidelines:
Wear High-Visibility Clothing
Wearing reflective and/or fluorescent apparel makes you more visible to your fellow team members and motorists.
Look Out for Worksite Vehicles
While it’s important to be vigilant of highway traffic, a large percentage of construction accidents actually involve worksite vehicles. Know where trucks and heavy equipment are coming in and out, and where the designated walkways are.
Understand Communication Signals
Again, roadside construction sites are noisy. Understanding and using signals to communicate is a safety best practice.
Make Eye Contact
Never move a piece of equipment without first making eye contact with operators.
How Drivers Can Keep Road Workers and Themselves Safer
Surprisingly, motorists and passengers are at an even greater risk of highway worksite fatalities than highway construction workers. According to Be Work Zone Alert (BWZA), 85 percent of people killed in work zones are drivers and/or passengers. If you see a work zone coming up, follow these simple rules from BWZA:
- Stay alert.
- Merge early.
- Avoid distractions.
- Don’t speed. Speed is the number one contributing factor in work zone crashes.
- Don’t tailgate.
- Be patient.
We Are All Responsible for Worker Safety
At Americover, we care about worker safety. From remediation liners to fire-retardant hard surface covers, contractors count on our products to keep workers safe on a variety of construction projects. As summer nears, consider additional solutions for safe summer construction, and let us know how we can help you choose the right products to keep your work site safe. Call our specialists at 833.261.6501 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.