Each year, roadway construction improves highways and other roads to improve the flow of traffic. Unfortunately, safety issues arise while work zones are in place. Existing construction zones narrow the roadways and create traffic congestion.
As such, it puts both drivers and construction workers at risk. In fact, it is estimated that a construction zone fatality is likely for every 4 billion miles traveled by a vehicle. Even more alarming is the fact that fatalities in work zones increased by a rate of approximately 3% while decreasing by 1.5% outside of work zones.
If you oversee a construction crew, it is important that you improve work zone safety. Implementing the right strategies and using construction zone equipment can help you decrease traffic dangers that put your workers at risk.
Strategically Placed Signs
Work zone safety starts with ensuring you have signs in place to help direct the flow of traffic. Proper signage that indicates there is a work zone ahead can alert drivers. Drivers who are aware of an upcoming construction zone know to keep their eyes peeled and decrease their driving speeds.
As drivers approach the construction site, make sure you include "Do Not Enter" and "Reduced Speed Ahead" signs. Make sure the signs are easily visible during the day and night. If you plan on doing a lot of nighttime roadwork, think about getting lighted signs or signs with reflective properties that makes them easier to see.
Barriers to Control Traffic Flow
It is important that you separate traffic from your work zone. The goal is to create a workspace perimeter so cars do not get too close to your workers. Among all the available work zone equipment, the best way to do this is with traffic control barricades.
Barricades can help drivers identify work zones, allowing them to pass by safely while also improving the safety of your workers. Barricades can also be used to help mark different areas of the construction site. For instance, you can use barricades to indicate areas for foot traffic and areas for large or heavy machinery use.
Although traffic cones are always an option, a car can easily overcome a barricade made from traffic cones. If a driver is distracted or otherwise incapable of operating a vehicle properly, traffic cones can still put your workers at risk.
Instead, consider larger, heavier barricades, such as temporary concrete walls. Make sure you make the walls as visible as possible to drivers on the road using reflective signs or lighting. Your overall goal is to improve safety for drivers and workers, so visibility is an important factor to consider.
Make sure your crew includes flaggers. Provide your flaggers with the proper gear and equipment so they can effectively control the flow of traffic. Flaggers should be highly visible to drivers. You can also include signs that indicate there is a flagger ahead.
Provide your flaggers with paddles marked with both "STOP" and "SLOW." You should also give your flaggers lights and reflective vests so drivers on the road can see them as they approach. Flaggers are particularly useful when roadway construction creates a one-way funnel.
A one-way funnel means that traffic coming from one direction can pass while traffic coming from the opposite direction is halted. The flow of traffic switches back and forth with the help of flaggers posted on either side of the funnel.
Talk to a professional about the necessary equipment and gear you need to improve work zone safety. A professional can help you determine what equipment you need so you can help reduce fatalities and injuries as you work to improve roadways.
For more information, contact a company like the Stripes & Stops Company, Inc.