We’ve all seen them: We’re driving on our way to work, or taking kids to school, and somewhere on the side of the road there are several construction workers. They’re wearing hard hats and reflective vests; but considering that between 2003 and 2010, 962 workers were killed on roadside accidents, protective gear is obviously not enough.
With all the crazy people who text and drive or speed like they’re racing on The Fast and the Furious, what can be done to keep everyone safe?
It starts with the construction equipment:
While there are some accidents caused by negligent speed demons, most of the injuries and fatalities on roadside construction are caused by construction equipment. And the main reason for construction vehicles running over workers is a lack of adequate visibility. So yes, reflective vests definitely help, but you need to do more. Implement policies that require additional safety items, such as warning lights and audible warning devices. Make sure their reflective gear is labeled “ANSI” (for American National Standard of High Visibility), for Class, 1, 2, or 3 risk exposures.
Once you have the equipment…
Properly brief your workers:
The best equipment in the world is not going to help much if your staff doesn’t know you have it on site, or how to best utilize it. Meet with the entire team before starting on the project, and go over safety essentials. Also remind them to never reverse a vehicle if they have an obstructed rear view. And even if they roll their eyes at you, have regular meetings to remind them of your safety policies and procedures.
Keep weather in mind:
If it’s foggy, commuters may not see your workers. It’s better to push back the schedule for a day than to have to tell family members that one of their loved ones got injured or killed on site. Also, this is Florida. It gets obnoxiously hot during summer. Prioritize having water and salt tablets available. Heat stress is very real, and increases the chances of work related accidents.
Place traffic barriers and speed limit signage:
At the end of the day, if a drunk person or any other sort of reckless driver wants to face criminal charges later on, that’s on them. But do your part by placing traffic barriers and reduced speed signs around your workers. Make it obvious for oncoming traffic that there’s work going on.
Always prioritize workers’ safety. After all, not only are they someone’s loved ones, but without them, we wouldn’t even have the cities or homes we live in. Construction workers make things happen. Keep ‘em safe.