Staying safe in construction work zones
According to data from the National Safety Council’s 2011 edition of “Injury Facts,” 667 people were killed and an additional 28,958 were injured in work zone crashes in 2009.
OSHA recommends heavy controls at construction work zone sites, including traffic controls identified by signs, cones, barrels and barriers that help both drivers and construction workers identify proper traffic routes.
Additionally, barriers should be set up to help prevent vehicle intrusion into the worksite. This can be done by using concrete, sand or collapsible barriers; crash cushions; or truck-mounted attenuators.
Flaggers can be the key to a safe work zone, yet they also are at risk themselves. OSHA offers the following tips for protecting flaggers on the road:
Flaggers should be well-trained or certified in authorized signaling methods. They should use STOP/SLOW paddles, paddles with lights, or flags in the case of an emergency situation.
Flaggers should wear clothing with reflective materials that make the employee visible from 1,000 feet in any direction. The garment’s packaging should indicate it is a performance class 2 or 3. Also, a sign should be posted to warn motorists of the presence of flaggers ahead.
Flagger stations need to be illuminated. Lighting for employees on foot and equipment operators should be 5 foot-candles or greater. Flares or chemical lighting should be used in places where lighting is not sufficient, and means should be taken to reduce or eliminate glare.