Employees being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment on a construction job site leads to many work zone injuries and fatalities. Work zones are required to have traffic controls consisting of signs, cones barrels, and barriers. Drivers, employees on foot, and pedestrians must be able to see and understand the proper routes. Construction project managers should determine traffic control plans within construction worksites.
When road workers build, maintain, repair, or conduct work on existing public streets or highways, they must be protected from traffic or haulage hazards. A variety of traffic control measures such as signs, lights, and other devices, along with continuous patrol, detours, and barricades can be used as traffic control measures, depending on the type of road and the work being done.
When you start work near a road, evaluate the work site for hazards. Look for blind corners, how heavy the traffic is, and how fast it flows. Note the weather, temperature, and visibility, and how they will affect the work that you are doing and how motorists will respond. Plan and draw out a diagram for your work site layout including the staging area, buffer area, transition areas, and work area. Determine, based on the road type and the typical vehicle speeds, how many advanced warning signs you will need and how long the buffer area and tapers need to be.
Work Zone Facts:
- During peak construction season, approximately 20% of our nation’s highway system is under construction with more than 3,000 work zones.
- Approximately 12 billion vehicle miles of travel a year will be through active work zones.
- Motorists can expect to encounter an active work zone 1 out of every 100 miles driven on the nation’s highway system.
- More than 40,000 people are injured each year as a result of crashes in work zones:
- One work zone fatality every 8 hours – 3 per day; and o One work zone injury every 9 minutes – 160 per day.
Worker Safety Orientation for Work Zones Includes, but Is Not Limited to:
- An identification of specific job-site hazards and an explanation of the safeguards to take;
- Information on the limitations and proper uses of traffic control devices and other protection-this includes the details of both the external & internal traffic control plan in place; and
- A briefing on the emergency action plan for the site.
Once all workers can learn the use and limitations of traffic control devices, personal protective equipment, tools, etc., then good decisions are made that positively affect the safety and health of everyone on the jobsite.
External Traffic Control:
The primary function of temporary traffic control (TTC) is to provide for the reasonably safe and efficient movement of road users through or around work zones while protecting workers.
Internal Traffic Control:
An internal traffic control plan (ITCP) is a tool that an employer can use to coordinate the flow of construction vehicles, equipment, and workers on foot moving in close proximity to each other within the work zone.
Safe Work Practices:
- Follow all site rules and signs.
- Watch your speed and stay in your lane.
- Be aware of other mobile equipment, site visitors, equipment, and people on foot.
- Check your equipment before use (pre-shift inspection).
- Check your brake each time you approach a steep grade or elevated dump
- Never move or change direction without using a warning signal or flagger.
- Report any unsafe roadway conditions immediately.
It should be remembered that the intent of traffic control procedures is to prevent a tie-up in the operation of the construction project and to allow the general public to move as efficiently as possible around the construction site.
ABOVE ALL, KEEP YOUR BRAIN TURNED ON AND STAY ALERT—DON’T GET HURT!!
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