Although roadside work hazards vary widely depending on the type of road, driving conditions, scale and duration of the project, etc., there are a few safety tips that workers should always keep in mind.
Wear High Visibility Clothing
If your personal protective equipment (PPE) doesn’t already cover you in fluorescent and reflective yellow, do it yourself. Wear bright colors under your PPE and don’t forget armbands, hats, and vests.
Start your day with a field-level risk assessment (you can learn more about those here) and perform one each time work conditions change. Pay close attention to potential blind spots and look before shifting your position.
Beware of Work Site Vehicles
Pay special attention to traffic flow and work zone set up. Note channel lanes where vehicles enter/exit the work site and walking is prohibited. Remain aware of any traffic moving in and out of the work site to ensure traffic channeling devices are working as desired. (Set up should all be specified in your traffic management plan. If you need help creating one, let us know!)
Whenever someone is working with you, as a safety measure, take turns as spotters to keep each other safe. This is especially important when loading and unloading equipment from vehicles.
Understand Communication Signals
In roadside environments, the best way to communicate is often through hand signals. Make sure you understand all of the communication signals that may be used between equipment operations and roadside crews. If you need a refresher, there are plenty of health and safety courses available to keep you current with industry standards.
Don’t Stand Under Suspended Equipment
Whether it’s sunny and you’re looking for a little shade or it’s rainy and you’re looking for a little cover, it’s never a good idea to seek shelter under suspended equipment.
Apply Parking Brakes
While parked vehicles don’t often start moving for no reason, parking brakes are an easy tool to eliminate this risk altogether. If you choose to park your vehicle on an inclined road, you should use blocks in front and behind the wheels.
Use a Seat Belt
Does anyone still not do this? Don’t even think about moving before buckling yourself in.
Test Your Supporting Equipment
Are flashing lights indeed flashing? Are message boards indeed messaging? Making sure that your equipment is doing its job will make yours a lot safer. (If you’re in need of quality traffic equipment rentals for your next project, Universal Group is here to help!)
Be Cautious When Approaching Vehicles
Last but not least, it’s always a smart idea to make eye contact with and get acknowledgment from drivers before approaching their vehicle. This includes road traffic and work site vehicle operators.