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Safety Facts & Advice for Workers & Drivers
For workers, drivers, and pedestrians, roadside construction presents a number of potential dangers. This is why traffic control products and services are in such high demand during these projects; it’s not just a matter of personal safety or the efficiency of the job, there are plenty of laws in place to ensure work zone safety.
Statistics You Should Know
- Most people killed in work zone accidents are drivers.
- Rear-end collisions are the most common type of accident in a work zone.
- Summer and fall see the highest rates of work zone crashes.
- Most work zone crash fatalities happen on roads where the speed limit exceeds 50 mph. (It takes only an extra 25 seconds to travel one mile at 45mph compared to 65 mph.)
- At speeds of 50 mph, vehicle stopping distance is: 300 ft for dry roadways, 400 ft for wet roadways, and 1,250 ft for icy pavement. These distances need to be increased by 50% for loaded 80,000 lb tractor-trailers.
Safety Tips for Drivers
- Stay Alert – Dedicate as much attention to the road as possible. This means no eating or using your cell phone. Avoid anything that will distract you from the road.
- Observe Your Surroundings – Pay attention to the California traffic signs, brake lights, and how traffic around you is behaving.
- Merge Into The Correct Lane – Try to merge well before the lane closure.
- Don’t Tailgate – Leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Don’t Exceed the Posted Speed Limit – During roadside construction projects, workers can be mere feet away from traveling vehicles. Not only that, but you can expect speeding tickets to be double the normal amount in roadside construction areas.
- Change Lanes With Caution – Only change lanes when pavement markings indicate that you can.
- Follow instructions of the Flaggers – They’re there for your safety.
- Remain Patient – Poor driving decisions often result when people are upset. This is one reason why road rage is so dangerous.
Safety Tips for Workers
Have a Comprehensive Safety Plan In Place
Set up a transportation management plan before starting a construction project. Decide how to conduct pedestrian traffic through or around a work zone, as well as how to direct worker traffic within the work zone as well. All of these traffic control plans should be consistent and set up for the safety of workers and drivers while maintaining workplace efficiency.
Make your plan site-specific; there is no universal traffic safety plan that fits every work zone. Each work zone will have its own potential dangers and hazards to watch out for. Your plan needs to take these into account and should be able to eliminate them or mitigate them as much as possible.
You should have schedules in place for the inspection of equipment and materials.
Finally, be sure to have a medical emergency and first aid plan in place in case an accident occurs.
Keep Different Work Zones Clearly Separated from Each Other
Many roadside construction projects have work zones within work zones. There are often many activities going on at the same time; workers with hand tools may be busy in one area while heavy machinery is hauling off debris from another.
Good traffic control plans include ways of keeping these work zones separate with barriers, cones, barricades, barrier tape, and other equipment.
Start the Morning With a Safety Meeting
Conditions in work zones can change day to day depending on a number of factors – the weather, number of workers, volume of traffic, etc. Morning safety meetings are a great way of getting everyone on the same page before beginning the work. It also gives you an opportunity to ensure everyone has the proper personal protective equipment.
Maintain Efficient Traffic Control
Traffic control plans aren’t complete without the following areas in place:
- Warning Area – This is for approaching vehicles and should be located far enough from the work zone that drivers can see what they’re approaching in advance. These should also be set up with an iTraffic system that can alert drivers of upcoming road conditions automatically or manually.
- Transition Area – These should include traffic control devices from a traffic supply store to close lanes and redirect traffic flow.
- Buffer Area – This is an area between traffic and the work zone.
- The Work Zone Itself
- The Termination Area – This is where traffic begins to return to normal speed.
Wear Your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
All personnel should wear their PPE while in the work zone. PPE includes:
- High-visibility clothing
- Steel-toed boots
- Hearing protection (if required)
- Hard hats
All PPE needs to meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Avoid Blind Spots
Work zone projects often involve a lot of moving equipment, dangerous tools, and potentially confusing circumstances. It’s important that all vehicles have enough mirrors and visual aid devices to eliminate as many blind spots as possible.
Workers who aren’t operating vehicles also need to be aware of driver’s limited line of sight.
Everyone needs to work together to avoid accidents and injuries.
The body isn’t the only thing that suffers from dehydration; the mind needs water to function properly as well. If workers aren’t hydrated, they can become disoriented and mentally fatigued, increasing the risk of workplace accidents and injuries.
As part of your traffic control plan, ensure that enough water and sports drinks are available for your workers.
Capitol Barricade Has the Sacramento Traffic Control Rentals & Plans You Need
If you are about to start a roadside construction project and need to find a traffic equipment supplier in Sacramento, look no further than Capitol Barricade. We have virtually everything you need for sale or rent to ensure a safe and efficient work zone.
We have plenty of signs available that are commonly used during roadside construction projects and can ship them out to you in no time. However, if you need something a bit more specialized, we can create what you need using our CNC router – just let us know what you need and we’ll get to work.
Beyond signs, we also have plenty of barricades, traffic cones, transverse rumble strips, and iTraffic systems.
We can also work with you to help set up a comprehensive traffic control plan. With over 30 years of experience in roadside safety products and services, you can rest assured that your next big project is in good hands.