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10 SAFE WORK PROCEDURES FOR ROAD CONSTRUCTION SITES

safe work procedures

When it comes to road construction, there are many hazards to be aware of. From heavy machinery and sharp tools to fast-moving vehicles and distracted drivers, in this type of environment, you can’t afford to be complacent about safety.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to minimize the risk for your workers. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you and your crew keep safety at the forefront of your minds this season. But before we get to those, let’s discuss some of the potential hazards your crew may be facing this season.

Potential Hazards for Workers in Road Construction

Your crew is no stranger to danger. They work in all weather conditions, whether it’s raining or blistering hot, and they’re constantly at risk of being struck by vehicles. Understanding these risks and establishing the appropriate safe work procedures is imperative to keeping your team protected on the job site.

Here are some of the most common hazards that plague workers in road construction.

Unruly Traffic and Drivers

Motorists engaging in speeding, distracted driving, driving while impaired, and reckless driving may cause work zone accidents, which in turn may cause serious injury or even death to members of your team or other motorists.

According to a work zone study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America and Heavy Construction Systems Specialists (HCSS), 64 percent of contractors report motor vehicles had crashed into their construction work zones during the past year.

What’s more, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who reports fatal injuries to workers at road construction sites, found that from 2003-2020, 2, 222 workers lost their lives at road construction sites ­– an average of 123 lives per year. In most of these cases, the worker was struck by a moving vehicle.

To protect workers from these dangers, providing adequate training on how to avoid such hazards and supplying safety equipment like hard hats and reflective vests to ensure all members of your team are seen by motorists is vital.

Live Electrical Currents

The potential hazards of working with live electrical currents are well-known, but did you know that road workers are at a particularly high risk of experiencing them? Think about all the utility lines and live circuits running beneath the pavement. Though it might not be a central part of the job, knowing how to safely work with electrical outputs is still an important part of the profession.

To mitigate injuries and accidents, ensure workers know how to carefully handle electric lines by providing them with training in electrical safety.

Heavy Mechanical Equipment

Heavy machinery is a common sight in road construction. Depending on the project, your crew may be responsible for using a whole host of heavy mechanical equipment, like steamrollers, dump trucks, and concrete mixers, to complete a task efficiently. However, given their size, weight, and power, this heavy mechanical equipment can pose a significant threat to your crew if handled incorrectly.

To prevent accidents caused by heavy machinery, provide all members of your team with proper training on how to safely operate the equipment and work in accordance with all safety procedures.

Low Visibility Conditions

In order to stay safe, you must be able to see and be seen by others. In road construction, this can sometimes be a challenge.

Road construction is known for presenting a high risk of low visibility conditions – from weather conditions like fog and rain to working jobs well after the sun goes down. Add the use of heavy machinery, like excavators and dump trucks, and you’ve got a problematic situation on your hands. To prevent accidents and injuries, each member of your crew should be aware of the risks low visibility conditions demonstrate and know to take the appropriate precautions when working.

Overexertion and Fatigue

Overexertion and fatigue are two potential hazards that road construction workers face on a regular basis. Overexertion of muscles, joints and tendons can result in sprains and strains, while fatigue can lead to exhaustion and loss of concentration.

Whether experienced together or on their own, these two factors demonstrate a serious threat to your crew. Thus, it is important to understand the risks associated with each so that you can take suitable steps to reduce them as much as possible.

10 Tips for Safe Work Procedures for Road Construction Sites

At SWS Warning Lights, we believe that most, work zone accidents are preventable. By simply implementing the proper initiatives and developing a comprehensive plan, you can minimize the potential risks your crew faces while keeping the greater community safe.

Here are 10 safe work procedures you can implement to minimize the risk in your road construction projects.

Implement Proper Training

As an employer, you have a responsibility to provide adequate training for all members of your team. Not only does this ensure that they know how to do their job safely and efficiently, but it also guarantees that you are complying with all applicable laws and regulations. For example, if you fail to provide proper training and one of your workers is injured on the job, you could be held liable.

Prevent this and guarantee your team has the knowledge and skills required to perform their jobs safely and effectively by providing the most up-to-date training. By the end, workers will be able to identify hazards and reduce risks with ease.

Have a competent person on site

Every project that you and your crew take on should be completed safely and to the highest standard. To ensure this, a competent person should always be on site.

A competent person, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), is someone who can spot existing and potential hazards in and around a work area that may be dangerous to employees. A competent person is also authorized to make alterations to the worksite to remove any identified dangers.

At first, requiring a competent person at all times seems simple, but if that person needs to take a temporary leave, things can quickly derail. To prevent this from happening, identify a few key “competent people” and implement a schedule to ensure at least one person is on-site at all times.

Begin each day with a safety meeting

Risk management plays a vital part in construction projects. When you’re working on a road, it’s even more important to ensure that your workers are safe and that the work is done properly. A great way to guarantee this is by holding a safety meeting at the beginning of each day on-site.

In this meeting, you should go over the day’s tasks and any precautions they require. The team leader should make sure everyone understands how to use tools properly and safely, as well as how to identify hazards in the environment and how to react in the event that something bad happens. You’ll also want to cover any special equipment or tools that will be used during the project, including their instructions and maintenance requirements.

A safety meeting also provides a perfect opportunity for workers to air any concerns they may have about their working conditions or something they may have observed on-site that could pose a threat to themselves or others. By the end of the meeting, everyone should know exactly what they need to do and feel confident in their ability to complete their tasks safely and efficiently.

Stay hydrated

While staying hydrated is important for everyone, it’s especially important for road workers as their job requires them to be outside in warm weather performing strenuous tasks that can lead to dehydration.

Do your part and brief your crew on the importance of staying hydrated and always provide them with plenty of water and breaks throughout the day, especially on those blistering hot days.

Site-specific safety program

No road construction project is the same, so having a safety program that is geared specifically to each site is critical in preventing accidents.

A site-specific safety program allows you to maximize efficiency by focusing on the hazards present at your particular work site. The plan should include identifying all hazards and your plans to control and mitigate them, schedules to routinely inspect all equipment and material, a plan for first aid and emergency medical care in the event of an accident, and safety training for all employees.

Having a site-specific safety program can also save your business money. Rather than spend money on things irrelevant to your project, you can tailor your safety program to suit your needs. And it’s easy to update! If something happens during construction that needs to be added or removed from the program, you can update it right away.

Avoid blind spots

Work zones can be hectic with vehicles and heavy equipment like pavement planers, excavators, and rollers constantly moving around. To minimize the risk of accidents, operators should ensure that all mirrors and visual aid devices are attached and functioning properly.

Laboure’s working near these machines while they are in operation must also remember that the driver has a limited line of sight. In this case, the best plan of action is to avoid areas that are blocked by these machineries or vehicles, and if you are working near them, always make sure you’re out of the driver’s blind spot. Remember, If you can’t see them, they can’t see you.

Wear proper safety equipment

Road construction involves heavy machinery and equipment that if used incorrectly can cause serious injuries. To prevent any serious harm, workers should always wear the proper safety equipment and follow safe work procedures.

Personal protective equipment including hard hats, highly visible clothing, gloves, steel-toed boots, goggles and depending on the noise levels hearing protection, can be used to prevent injuries.

For peak efficiency, crew members should also take a few minutes to ensure all equipment fits properly and check throughout the day to confirm everything stays in place.

Properly control traffic

As soon as any sort of road construction gets underway, traffic must be mediated to minimize the risk to workers, drivers, and pedestrians. This means that advanced warnings should be put up in advance of the work zone so pedestrians and drivers can prepare for changes like reduced lanes or slower driving speeds. Drivers should also be given enough space to transition out of the work zone and back into the regular flow of traffic.

Create separate work areas

Work zones are busy and often have several activities occurring simultaneously. By using caution tape, traffic cones, and other markers, work zones can be divided off for the safe movement of road workers, preparation stations, storage, heavy machinery, and vehicles.

Not only does this increase safety around your worksite by helping to avoid accidents, but it also cuts down on project time and overall costs.

Utilize Safety Warning Lights

Safety warning lights are an excellent way for construction workers to alert drivers that there is a road construction project underway. From arrows and minibars to scene illumination and traffic directors, safety warning lights can warn oncoming drivers of the work ahead while directing them to continue safely in their current direction or take an alternative path that has been set up.

To illustrate how effective warning lights are in minimizing risks, we thought we’d explain how our specific models of warning lights get the job done. For starters, each of our warning lights is designed to be used in all kinds of weather conditions, from extreme heat and rain to harsh Canadian winters. Our in-house engineering team also uses the best components available in order to exceed industry requirements and ensure long-term reliability and durability.

Take our traffic arrows. The design of each model is intended to provide the maximum viewing angle and projection distance. This ensures road users are given ample time to respond to road hazards, mitigating any risk.

Beacons, also known as construction truck strobe lights, are another necessity for work zones. The bright, flashing lights can be seen from far away and help keep drivers safe by alerting them to the presence of workers or construction equipment on or near the road. Whether you’re interested in outfitting your construction truck with low, medium, or high-profile strobe lights, you can trust North America’s leader for Amber Warning Lights to provide you with the highest quality safety warning lights on the market.

Minimize Risk in Construction Projects with SWS

When it comes to risk management in road construction projects, the importance cannot be overstated. That’s why SWS Warning Lights has been dedicated to serving this industry since 1969.

Canadian-designed and Canadian-made, we supply amber safety warning lights for commercial fleets across North America. If you need to equip your team or work zone with warning light systems, we’re here to help. We never compromise on quality and when it comes to your satisfaction our goal is to provide you with the best customer service experience possible.

Contact us today to get started setting your work zone up for safety.

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