Working in a road construction zone is a hazardous job. In fact, every year approximately 100 road workers are killed and 20,000 injured during road construction. According to OSHA, these accident numbers are a combination of workers being hit by passenger vehicles and by construction equipment in the work zones. As a road construction worker, you can help accidents by following certain procedures.
You know that wearing bright colored safety equipment is necessary, but you may become somewhat lax after days on the same job. Conscientiously wearing layers of orange and/or yellow clothing and safety gear helps prevent even the most inattentive motorist from overlooking you.
When you are inside the work zone, experts advise that you stay far away from any machine operations unless it is your job to be in the area. If you need to be around moving equipment, try and make eye contact with the machine operators so that they realize you are nearby. Also, whenever possible, stay on the driver's side of any equipment that is in motion. You need to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb when you are in a road construction zone.
Motorists are notoriously careless about driving by road construction zones, so it is essential that your cones and barrels are placed properly and in such a way that wind and rain will not dislodge them. Scattered barriers can confuse drivers and lead them through the middle of a work zone instead of around it. Also, motorists often run into these items while they are driving, sometimes causing a domino effect of scattered cones. You need to be diligent about replacing these items during the day to keep drivers in the correct lanes.
As a construction worker, you need to follow your supervisors' internal traffic plan that coordinates the movement of all construction vehicles within the zone. When you follow this plan, you and your fellow workers will smoothly work together and avoid endangering each other. Everyone should know where the machinery is being operated and where workers on foot will be. This internal plan is as important to maintaining safety as the plan for passing traffic.
If you are a road construction worker, you are in one of the most dangerous professions. You are at risk from motorists as well as your fellow workers. Taking a few proactive steps will help keep you safe while working on the nation's highways and city streets. Click here for more info about road construction.