Keep an Eye on Safety
There's a lot going on in road construction - lots of people doing their jobs and working together as a team - all around moving traffic and heavy equipment. As a road construction ground worker, you not only have to do your job, but you have to watch out for everyone else at the same time. That's why it's so important to keep a constant eye on safety - how you work, and how others are working around you. If you don't, it could mean your life or the life of your co-workers.
You need to watch out for a number of hazards. Some of the major hazards are:
Equipment backing up
Flying material or spillage off loads or from passing traffic
High noise levels
Changing environmental conditions; processes, procedures, equipment movement
What You Wear May Save Your Life
You need to help others see you - drivers on the road and heavy equipment operators. Always wear a highly visible vest (reflective is the best kind).
Make sure your clothes allow you to move freely in case you have to take evasive action - but not too loose or you could get caught up in something.
Signs and Barricades
Another important step in protecting yourself is to make sure all signage and barricades are properly placed in the work area (see "Signs and Barricades" link).
Do you know who the designated signaler is? Do you know what signals are being used? Is everyone aware of these signals? These are some basic questions you should ask yourself before starting the job. These signals may be the only thing between your life and some very large equipment.
If you are directing truck dumping, stay to the rear. Make sure you maintain eye contact with the operator. Stay off to the side during backing and dumping operations to avoid flying rocks or a raised box that may overturn.
Outside the Zone
If you are a load checker or center line raker, or are on a string or survey crew who must work outside the control zone, use extra caution and do not work with your back to oncoming traffic. Use the buddy system of a co-worker to watch your back.
Awareness from the Ground Up
There's a lot of questions to ask yourself before starting to work:
Where are the limits of the traffic control zone? Are you going to be able to work within that zone at all times?
Which direction/ path is the equipment going to take?
Do you always have eye contact with the operator?
Can you always stay on the upside of equipment?
Do you know where all the overhead power lines and underground utilities are located?
Do you have an escape path?
Is there a warning device (i.e. air-horn) to warn you and other workers aware of immediate danger?
Be on the Look Out
Be particularly careful to watch out for:
Slip, trip, and fall hazards
Material falling off loads or being thrown from tires
Everything and everyone around you
The Driving Factor
Driving on roadways can be tedious, especially when slowed down by road construction. But we can't have roadways to drive on without road construction. As people who work in road construction we have a lot to watch out for: heavy equipment, job quality, and the traffic around us.
But sometimes when we're on the other side as drivers we forget to teach our families and friends the patience we expect from others. Friends and family members may be working on the construction site.
By being careful and going slowly around road construction, you can prevent possible accidents. Read and obey road construction signs. They are there for a reason.
Remember that what you do sets the example for your family members. If you ignore what is going on around you, they will too. If we set a good example for family, friends and fellow motorists, maybe we can start a trend.
Make a Difference
Accidents in road construction can be prevented with proper planning, good communication, and awareness of the activities going on in the work area. Make sure you protect yourself and the rest of the crew. You can make a difference.
For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.