As New Year's Eve swiftly approaches, now is a good time to highlight best practices for construction industry professionals to safely secure and maintain road work sites.
As road safety concerns become amplified during the busy travel season, Ironsides is sharing its insights as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to ensure high safety levels on road construction projects.
Considerations for Holiday Planning:
Securing a worksite starts with a plan of action. Develop a timeline of activities that will take place leading up to the site shut down before Thanksgiving to ensure employee and public safety.
Project supervisors should have a predetermined process in place for site shutdown and maintenance, providing ample time to safely secure the site and address any local regulations. A simple checklist can be a very useful tool to make sure nothing gets missed.
Conducting thorough site walkthroughs helps to spot potential safety hazards. Crews should think in terms of the unknowing public, identifying any dangers that could persist for cars and pedestrians that come in contact with the worksite.
Before shutting down, have an outside supervisor evaluate the site to get a fresh perspective on potential hazards and any last items that should be addressed.Plan for emergencies. Unforeseen events can happen, so it’s important to have a protocol in place that clearly outlines contact points and specific steps that must be taken for quick action in the event of an emergency during site inactivity.
Tips for Executing:
First and foremost, crews must be on extra high alert. Distracted driving incidents increase as the holidays approach, so it’s important to keep a safe distance from traffic during site shutdown procedures.
Project managers should understand how the traffic patterns will work during site inactivity. This will help in the selection and placement of proper signals onsite to help guide the public. All road construction signs not applicable during site inactivity should be covered, turned or removed to avoid confusing motorists.
Secure equipment by removing keys, locking doors and turning off master switches to make it that much harder for an unauthorized visitor to access the equipment.
Position all equipment in a safe location away from travel zones. Don’t leave any tools or debris out in the open during holiday inactivity.
Set barriers between the general public and safety hazards on site. For example, if the site is located on a bridge with an exposed fall hazard, ensure it is adequately guarded from the public just as you would onsite employees. Consider the lighting surrounding the project. For the public driving at nighttime or pedestrians, it’s important they are able to clearly see necessary signs, traffic signals, and walking surface conditions.
Communication is key. Make sure all project managers and crew members are aware of the emergency protocol if an unexpected event occurs over the holidays.
Work zones in high-traffic areas can be dangerous to both construction workers and the general public if not properly secured. This holiday season, road construction teams should create a plan of action and take the necessary steps to safely secure and maintain their sites. Being prepared for the unexpected will reduce safety risks for the millions of people traveling through work zones during the holiday.