Road construction workers play a crucial role in ensuring our roads, highways, new lanes, exits, and other modes of transportation are completed and safe to use. However, the nature of work often results in unfortunate accidents and fatalities. Working in road traffic or the dead of night poses serious dangers to the workers.
Given the risks of road construction work, it is important to know how to stay safe while working.
Importance of Road Construction Safety
Roads and highways are our main sources of travel and even logistical transport. Without fully functional roads, all our needs become inaccessible and expensive. New and well-maintained roads can speed up travel and give us easier access to services and products we use every day. Thus, road work is something that we should give importance to.
An estimate of roughly 20,000 workers suffers from an injury or are in any way involved in highway and road construction accidents. According to reports, transportation-related incidents account for at least 65% of fatalities in roadways.
In Australia, traffic and road-construction related injuries are twice as likely to result in death or permanent disability than in any workplaces.
The most common causes of road construction injuries include the use of dangerous equipment, collision, and contact with falling objects. Other injury causes also include falls, slips and trips, overexertion, and exposure to harmful substances. Familiarising yourself and the workers with standard safety guidelines will keep hazards away. Workers will also be better prepared before going on site.
5 Tips for a Safer Road Construction
Below you will find our top safety tips for roads construction workers to be safe and healthy at work.
- Plan and Prepare
Several factors must be considered when planning road construction projects. Things like schedules, weather, large events, peak hours, and even holidays can influence traffic flow in the work area. Ideally, the road construction should be planned on days or months when it is at its lowest rate of usage.
A road construction plan should be comprehensive. It should prioritise not only the safety of the motorists but also the road workers.
- Proper Training
As with any work environment, road construction workers should undergo proper training. Training will result in workers becoming aware of the policies in place and the possible hazards they may experience. Following consistent protocols ensures that everyone is on board with the procedures. Training will address all things safety-related, including traffic control, equipment, and material inspections. It also helps in identifying worksite hazards.
In addition, emergency response and first aid training should be provided to the workers.
- Correct Traffic Control
Traffic must be controlled and mediated while road construction is underway. The best way to do it is to put advanced warning signs and labels to alert motorists of road construction and changes in the traffic flow. Labels and sign boars should be visible from 500 meters away and spread throughout construction work zones.
- Wear Proper Safety Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn by workers at all times when working and walking within the zone. Safety equipment includes hard hats, steel toe boots, ear protection pieces, and highly visible clothing.
High visibility and reflective clothing include putting on fluorescent or reflective armbands, hats, and vests. These are essential when working in dark, low-light conditions or heavily shaded areas.
- Stay hydrated
It is easy to get thirsty while working on roads and highways under the scorching hot sun. The machinery and equipment used also release additional temperature, making you dehydrated. Dehydration in road work is common since many do not realise how much water they lose throughout the day. It is important to drink plenty at all times of the day, whatever season it is.
Road construction safety is something that workers, project managers, and employers need to approach proactively. Accidents and injuries are more likely to occur when safety standards are not followed. It also happens when workers fail to take precautions. Follow the five tips above to help everyone on your team stay safe.