Safety Tips

Signs & Barricades

Signs of Safety

When you work near traffic you need to protect yourself, co-workers and the public. Proper use of signs and barricades is a crucial part of any job. Take time to update your knowledge and understanding of various road safety procedures, signs, and barricades. In general, traffic control zones look like this:

Advance Warning Area - tells traffic what to expect ahead.
Transition Area - moves traffic out of its normal path.
Work Area Buffer - provides protection for traffic and workers.

Check Before Starting

Before work starts, you and others will want to make sure that all signage and barricades are properly placed in each of the zones approaching the work areas to meet safety requirements and legislation of the responsible level of government (province, county, municipal district, city, town, etc.).

Prepare a safety checklist and go over it with co-workers and supervisors.

Golden Safety Rule

One of the most important rules about warning signs is to make sure they are covered or removed when not in use. If warning signs are left up when not needed, drivers begin to ignore them. They think they're just another waste of time - and that's when tragedy can strike.


There are three basic types of signs:

Regulatory - indicates traffic regulations such as black and white speed limit signs
Guide - provide information for route selection such as route markers or green and white directional signs.
Warning - provide advance warning of hazardous conditions or potentially hazardous situations such as black on yellow curve signs.
Temporary Condition Signs - provide information about construction or maintenance activities. They include black and orange men working signs and barricades.

Traffic Accommodation

The "5 W's" will help you to determine worksite signage needs. You will need to know:

Who is responsible for the job
What traffic accommodation must be provided (i.e. signs, signals, flagpersons, etc.)
Why the accommodation is required
When it will be required
Where it will be required

Traffic Barricades

Traffic barriers may be used to separate the traffic flow from the work area. They may be the New Jersey type concrete barrier or water barriers. Barriers should never be placed at 90° to the roadway.

Barricades should be made of reflective materials and they must never be placed in the line of traffic without warning signs.


This is a technique which gradually reduces the width of the road. It is effective and safe only if the devices used are placed at appropriate sequences.

The most common channelization devices are barricades cones, barrels, pedestal flashers, and reflectorized chevrons.

Road Safety

Construction professionals know the importance of obeying posted warnings in work areas. All of us need to take the same precautions.

Teach your family members to obey warning signs and flagpersons. Whether it's a crosswalk, a traffic light, or a paving crew member, your family will be safer if they obey the rules and signals.

You can lead by example. When you drive through construction zones, slow down and obey the signage.

When teaching your children to ride a bike, teach them the signs and rules of the road, including hand signals.

Road construction is a fact of life. It's necessary to keep the road safe. Don't get impatient in traffic - we all need to take the same precautions when passing through a work area. Signs and barricades are in place for protection of both you and the workers on site.

As a member of the public, stay on the safety team. Your safety attitudes from work will serve you and your family at home and on the road.

There are many steps to be taken to ensure your safety and the safety of others near roadways:

Traffic and pedestrian movements must be separated
Time restrictions may need to be juggled
Transportation authorities have to be notified
Ask those authorities for advice - they are the experts

It's a big job. You, your co-workers, and your supervisor will need to work together to ensure public safety and safe work operation.

For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.