Work zone safety is difficult even on a basic construction site. When you add traffic to the mix, either because you're working on a project near a busy street or on the street itself, the work site becomes its own hazard. Indeed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 609 workers were killed at road work zones in a five-year span from 2011 to 2015.
Below are some ways you can help your workers stay safe in the work zone.
1. Put New Hires Through Safety Training
The employment of safety measures on any construction site involves knowledge and skills. Each company has their own measures suitable to local guidelines. No matter how long new hires have been in the general business, they need adequate safety training that conforms to your company's standards. In that way, they keep themselves and their co-workers safe.
The safety training should cover several important topics. For one, new workers must know what your expectations are for safety measures. Make the instruction specific to traffic work zones since they represent such a danger. Likewise, ensure workers learn how to use any relevant safety equipment. Such training should be mandatory for all new hires.
2. Provide Adequate Safety Gear
The employer must provide adequate safety gear for the company's construction or road workers. Personal protection equipment should include hard hats and hearing protection. Advise your new hires to buy steel-toed boots, too. You can also decide if you want to provide equipment such as gloves or ask your employees to do so.
When the required work takes place on the street, you must also provide high-visibility protective clothing that conforms to OSHA standards. This equipment can be a highly visible vest, jacket, or shirt.
3. Make the Right Tools Available
Manufacturers produce a multitude of tools for construction because the business is highly specialized. Each aspect of construction requires its own set of tools. Each of those tools is ideally suited to the task.
Make sure your employees have access to all the proper equipment they'll need to complete their jobs. If they have to try and use a tool that's suited to another kind of job, their work will be inefficient. What's more, they're more likely to injure themselves as the try to force the inappropriate tool to work for the job at hand.
4. Use Proper Traffic Control Barriers
Specific to sites on roads, make sure your employees use the proper traffic control patterns. Provide them with orange barrels, cones, drums, or barricades to that end. Likewise, ensure they understand and implement the four work zone areas:
- Advance warning area: informs drivers of upcoming work zone
- Transition area: directs drivers out of their normal path
- Activity area: work, traffic, and buffer space for the job
- Termination area: traffic resumes at normal speed
If the above zones aren't clearly marked, the traffic could get dangerously close to the workers or equipment. Likewise, provide ample warning equipment such as cones to clearly mark ditches or other dangerous areas within the work zone.
5. Keep the Work Zone Clean
Construction is a dirty business that uses and produces material that can be dangerous to both your employees and passersby. At the end of the work day, the workers may not feel like cleaning up the work zone. It is, however, a necessary part of the job, and one you must communicate clearly to them.
What's more, the equipment must be cleaned to ensure it functions properly and safety. Similarly, keep all signage clean and in good repair. If you have any damaged equipment or signage, replace it immediately. Your workers will be endangered by motorists who can't see or understand what's being communicated to them.
Keep your employees safe in traffic work zones with the proper training and equipment. Contact a company that sells work zone equipment to learn more.