Working along the road is inherently dangerous. Drivers are often distracted by phones and passengers, and too many people are still getting behind the wheel while intoxicated or too sleepy to drive. Add in the complexity of driving through a construction zone, and you’ve got a recipe for worker injuries. These four tips can help keep you safe while you’re on a roadside job.
It’s not enough simply to place cones or signs at a work site. In many cases, the only way to manage traffic safely is to utilize a specialty contractor to provide traffic control. They are properly equipped and trained to keep traffic speeds down while moving vehicles safely beyond your work area. They understand visibility, lines of sight, deceleration rates, and all the other variables that help drivers see and avoid your crew.
Many construction workers are only occasionally involved in work along the road. If that’s the case for you, a reminder is in order: You should dress for visibility. The lime green, safety orange, and reflecting striping are not necessary if you’re excavating a home site or repaving a parking lot, but they are essential when traffic is close by. When your day’s work shifts from a safe area to a roadside area, make a wardrobe change part of the new routine.
In safer areas, the sequence of tasks and the placement of equipment are not important. Along the road, it can be crucial. Having unneeded equipment on site ahead of time can obstruct your view, making it harder for you to see approaching traffic. At the same time, unoccupied trucks, bulldozers, and other heavy vehicles can also be an excellent barrier when placed between the work zone and oncoming traffic. Thinking about the layout of your site can make it much safer.
As you work on a roadside job, be alert at all times. No matter what safety measures are put in place, there will always be some danger. Keep your eyes open and listen for the sounds of fast-moving vehicles or verbal warnings from fellow workers. Never use earbuds on the job, and use earplugs only when needed for hearing protection. Think of it the same way you do when you’re driving. Watch your blind spots, don’t change locations without checking first, and always think defensively.
You’re on the job to earn a living. Don’t let it endanger your life. Use good safety systems to keep traffic hazards in check so that you can stay healthy and on the job.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.