While hard hats and traffic cones are essential to keep workers safe on the job, there is a lot that goes into providing effective highway construction safety. With the country’s traffic infrastructure aging and in need of repair, crews are providing a service to all road users by keeping the highways and bridges safe enough to withstand the use they endure by millions of vehicular travelers. In return for their work, highway construction workers should be afforded the fundamental necessity of jobsite safety. There are several things a highway construction team can do to maintain a safe jobsite. Teams that aim to implement a successful safety program should incorporate the following tips:
See Safety as a Job Essential
The main thing for highway work crews to understand is that busy roads are inherently dangerous and adding a construction project to the mix puts people in additional danger. Starting with that recognition, workers should be trained and equipped to make safety a major focus of their job duties. The buy-in from the workers themselves can make all the difference. Precautions they take and the vigilance they display serve to keep them and their coworkers safe, while also providing similar protections to general road users.
Have a Plan
In order for a team to implement a strategy that will provide the necessary safety measures, safety managers must come up with a concrete plan for everyone to get behind. The safety plan should be specific to the conditions on-site. The hazards present may involve obstructions or intrusions, such as power lines, traffic patterns, or the presence of pedestrians. Consider weather conditions and the hazards they pose. If the work is happening at night, lighting should be adequate without presenting glare issues for drivers in the vicinity. A safety plan should include equipment inspections and involve staff compliance checks throughout the project timeline. An emergency response strategy should be put in place that will be engaged in the event of a jobsite accident.
Share the Plan
The plan, which may evolve over time and under changing conditions, should be clearly communicated with the crew. A morning meeting can be useful to give all crew members a clear understanding of the day’s safety objectives. Each day may present a variety of safety concerns, such as expected weather issues or safety risks introduced as the construction project moves through successive phases.
Supplement onboarding training of new staff with continuing training for all crew members. Safety is an everyday concern. Training should be revisited often to allow precautionary efforts to remain a priority for every worker. Safety rules and handy tools are certainly part of the equation, but they are only effective if they are worked into an action plan for crews to incorporate into their routines. Making safety protocols part of the task at hand eliminates the chance that corner-cutting will cause a lapse in on-the-job safety. When precautions are integrated into the job, workers are more likely to adhere to safety measures.
Monitor for Compliance
Each crew should have a safety coordinator on staff to ensure compliance among workers. The benefits of using hard hats, hearing protection, reflective clothing, and protective footwear should all be stressed and reinforced. Workers who disregard safety protocols should be held accountable and given written warnings when ignoring safety protocols. The personal protective equipment (PPE) required and provided by the employer should meet or exceed the guidelines put out by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Employ Available Safety Measures
When using heavy equipment, such as dump trucks, cranes, pavers, and compactors, built-in safety features should be engaged. Straightforward visual aids and mirrors are simple examples, but backup alarms and other advanced features also provide safety benefits. One innovation to secure a safe worksite is a sensor-equipped traffic cone that, when knocked over by a car entering the worksite, is able to notify workers of the hazard presented by the intruding vehicle.
Facilitate Active Communication
Traffic control is an essential component to keeping workers safe. When drivers are given advanced notice of an upcoming work zone, the stage is set for a safe and incident-free passage around the construction site. Traffic should be redirected to avoid the construction area by incorporating barricades, traffic cones, and signage to allow for a buffer between the work area and traffic flow.
Make Safety a Team Effort
Create an atmosphere where all crew members remain conscious of safety concerns. Ongoing training and work culture can be useful in supporting a team-oriented approach to safety. Working to present safety as a goal for every crew member is the best way to achieve a commitment to safety from each employee. Safety devices and protocols are only as good as crew members’ participation in providing safety on a jobsite.
Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC Assist Injured Construction Workers
Construction can be dangerous; this is especially true when the construction takes place on a busy highway. If you were hurt at work in a highway construction accident, the Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC can help you secure the benefits you deserve. Contact us online or call 856-751-7676 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, Trenton, and Vineland, New Jersey, as well as Trevose, Pennsylvania, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.