Highway and street construction workers are at risk of both fatal and nonfatal injuries when working near passing motorists, construction vehicles, and equipment. Road work hazards such as moving vehicles and construction equipment require workers to stay alert and follow safety procedures.
Before conducting roadwork jobs, review the required tasks, location, and time of day to determine the necessary equipment, personnel, and materials.
Plan how you will control traffic along the road and within the construction zone.
Have enough trained flaggers to complete your work.
Gather the signs, cones, flags, drums, and/or message boards that you will need for the job.
Inspect your signage to make sure it is in good repair and highly visible.
Clean or discard dirty equipment with limited visibility.
Get training on how to set up and maintain your roadside work zone properly.
Get training on the equipment that you will use and drive (tools and vehicles).
To reduce their risk of injury from road traffic, workers and crew leaders can take the following actions:
- Wear high visibility clothing with a fluorescent background or reflective materials.
- Be aware of your surroundings and identify potential hazards.
- Stay out of lanes or areas where walking is prohibited.
- Make sure you understand hand and other communication signals that the jobsite requires.
- Listen for and respect vehicle reverse-signal alarms.
- Consider closing the road, rerouting traffic, or setting up barriers (concrete is more protective than cones).
- Have a traffic control supervisor survey the jobsite to look for evidence of near misses, such as skid marks or damaged barricades.
- Use traffic control devices such as signs, warning signals, paddles, and barriers consistently throughout the entire work area.
- Have flaggers use devices that increase their visibility. For example, a flashing Slow/Stop paddle with a mounted strobe light has been found to be effective.
Get training on and wear the personal protective equipment (PPE) that you are required to use:
A hardhat, safety shoes, work gloves, earplugs, safety glasses, and possibly fall protection depending on the job task.
In the work zone, watch for fast-moving motorists and large construction equipment.
Set up parking zones that have safe entrances and exits.
Group your vehicles on the same side of the road for visibility.
Set up the job site and tasks to minimize the need to cross the active road.
Set up traffic lanes within the jobsite for clear access and visibility.
If possible, set up your work toward oncoming traffic and stay alert, or station a spotter to watch oncoming traffic. Have an escape route and/or plan of action in place. Practice good communication and make sure all vehicles have working backup alarms. If you are flagging, acting as a spotter, or as a traffic control supervisor always remain alert. Do not drink, smoke, or have a conversation while performing these duties.
Road work is a physical job requiring strength and endurance. Stay fit so your body can do the work. Use proper lift techniques. Use anti-vibration gloves when working with vibrating equipment. Take frequent micro-breaks every 30 minutes to stretch and relax your muscles. Rotate your tasks during the day to use different muscle groups.
Road work occurs in all types of weather and throughout the year. Wear appropriate clothing for the climate. Light colored layers and sunscreen protect you during the hot months while layers of moisture-wicking clothing protect you in the cold. Get plenty of rest, eat right, and hydrate to stay healthy and alert on the job.
Take safety on the road!