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Roadway and Construction Safety

As we move into 2023 and the construction season is about to ramp up, we need to refresh our minds with Roadway Safety. 

Working on or near roadways and highways can be dangerous. We have live traffic, construction traffic, crews, weather, and other hazards. Protecting ourselves and knowing what the hazards are can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Together, we can make sure everyone goes home safe.

As part of field work, we perform many different tasks on roadways which may include:

We need to take a minute, and look over our work site. Ask yourself some questions what is going on today, what crews are in the area, what are the hazards today. With these questions it will get you in the safety state of mind.

The following methods can be used to minimize and control risks for optimum roadway safety:

Be aware of your surroundings:

  1. Working near traffic for extended periods of time can cause you to become complacent to the danger around you from moving traffic
  2. Continually remind yourself and your fellow workers of the dangers to which we are exposed
  3. Remember the common phrase “If you cannot see the driver the driver cannot see you”
  4. Stay out of heavy construction traffic areas where trucks and equipment are moving
  5. Look when you hear a backup horn
  6. Take a look around, use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20-min. look 20 ft. around you for 20 sec

Remain Alert:

  1. Do not allow yourself or a fellow worker to become distracted
  2. If you need to walk near traffic always have the oncoming traffic facing you, do not walk with your back to the traffic
  3. Do not attempt to talk on the phone when you are working near or around traffic, remove yourself to a safe place away from all traffic if you need to talk on the phone
  4. Know where to cross and park. Routes should be identified and marked to allow workers and work vehicles to safely enter and exit the work space
  5. Move in a predictable manner
  6. Don’t take unnecessary risks

Be visible:

  1.  All workers should wear high visibility, reflective apparel, in accordance with minimum roadway safety standards. (Class 3 vest on all roadway work)
  2. Worker visibility during dawn or dusk conditions may be enhanced using fluorescent colored high visibility apparel
  3. If possible, try to exit your vehicle on the curb side rather than traffic side
  4. Notify your supervisor of safety concerns
  5. Make eye contact with operators or truck drivers
  6. Get the operators approval before crossing or approaching trucks or equipment
  7. Park in an area where you are not in a pinch point

In summation, when we are on our job site, continue to keep a look out for traffic, construction crews, and new hazards. Take your time and be alert at all times. Remember the 20-20-20 rule. As always, if we see something say something to ensure roadway safety. We all have the power to use our Stop Work right. Look out for each other and keep our safety minds working.

Remember as we make our way around traveling back and forth to the office, slowdown in the constructions zones, and always drive safe.

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Fall Protection: Most Workplace Falls are Preventable

In the United States construction industry, falls are the leading cause of worker injuries and fatalities. In 2018, 338 out of 1,008 total deaths in construction were from falls (33.5%), according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The standard for fall protection deals with both the human and equipment-related issues in protecting workers from fall hazards.

The OSHA standard (29 CFR 1926.501(b))(1)) states: “Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems.”

The risk for falls is virtually present in every single workplace. However, the factors that can lead to a fall varies. There are specific unsafe acts by employees as well as unsafe conditions that can lead to fall incidents. Moreover, falls often result from a series of contributing factors. At times, they are the result of unsafe conditions and actions combined. It is important to look at both unsafe conditions as well as unsafe actions to recognize hazardous situations.

Unsafe Conditions that Lead to Falls

  • Unguarded leading edges
  • Open holes
  • Improper guardrails
  • Damaged equipment (ladders, stairs, safety equipment, etc.)
  • Slippery conditions
  • Unmarked elevation changes

Unsafe Actions that Lead to Falls

  • Working at heights without fall protection or fall prevention methods like handrails
  • Improper use of ladders
  • Leaning over guardrails

Best Practices to Avoid Falls in the Workplace

A few safeguards can mitigate the risk of falling.

  • Engineering controls such as physical barriers and guardrails are two fall protection systems that are effective in preventing falls from heights.
  • Use approved and tagged scaffolding if a guardrail is not feasible.
  • Use a proper fall arrest system such as a full body harness, self-retracting lanyard, and approved anchor point with 100% tie-off (required when working at heights 6ft or greater unless client policy is 4ft).
  • Proper use of a ladder. This includes using three points of contact when climbing, not leaning to one side while on the ladder, setting the ladder at the proper angle, securing the ladder, etc.
  • Proper housekeeping in work areas.
  • Warning signs and other methods of communicating fall hazards to nearby workers.
  • Inspect fall protection equipment before every use. Make this inspection a part of your daily safety checks prior to wearing.
  • Never use equipment that is not rated or made for fall protection. Only approved fall protection equipment should be used. If you are unsure, stop and ask.