Workers in temporary traffic control work zones are exposed to injury from construction vehicles and motorized equipment. Here are some risk factors:
Workers in the roadway are also at risk of injury from a variety of general traffic vehicles entering the work zone, such as:
The new survey of law enforcement officers found about 40 percent of drivers operating their vehicles in a construction zone were using a cell phone, resulting in more traffic accidents. In fact, 78 percent of responding law enforcement officials in Northern Virginia alone indicated the number of automobile crashes/incidents in construction zones has increased since they joined the department.
For responding police officers, the cause behind the increase in incidents is clear. They say cell phone use is overall the primary causes of crashes in at least 34% of accidents in road construction zones.
An inattentive driver rear-ended this attenuator truck at 63 mph, despite workers’ attempts to get the driver’s attention. Two workers were hurt and the driver received minor injuries.
The driver pled guilty to reckless endangerment of a roadway worker.
Flaggers and other workers-on-foot (refers to any pedestrian worker on the ground in the work zone) are exposed to several risks, including being hit if they are not visible to motorists or equipment operators.
Workers who operate construction vehicles or motorized equipment have an increased risk of injury due to rollovers, collisions, and being caught between or struck by operating equipment.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), 844 worker deaths occurred in roadway work zones from 1995-2002 in the United States.
Here are some other sobering statistics involving work zone accidents:
BLS says construction vehicle-related accidents are responsible for the increase in worker deaths.
Flaggers and other workers assigned to traffic control responsibilities work very close to motor vehicles. This increases their risk of getting hit or run over by passing vehicles. Therefore, flaggers must be trained in traffic control techniques.
A traffic control plan helps move motorist traffic safety through or around roadway work zones to protect the public and workers. The traffic control plan makes use of traffic control devices, standard signage, and buffer and transition zones. When flaggers will be used on a job lasting more than one day, there must be a current site-specific traffic control plan kept on site.
In the Temporary Traffic Control zone, construction vehicles and equipment moving inside create a risk to workers on foot requiring additional protection planning and policies to minimize backing-up maneuvers in the “activity area.”
The Temporary Traffic Control “Activity Area” is the section of the highway where the work activity takes place. It is comprised of the work space, the traffic space, and the buffer space.
The “work space” is the portion of the road closed and set aside for equipment, workers, and materials. Work spaces are usually separated from the traffic space with channeling devices or temporary barriers and signs. This protects both vehicles and pedestrians.
Here are some other important components of a temporary traffic control plan:
Visibility is greatly reduced at night and your risk of getting injured or even killed increases in the dark. Drivers may be more tired, sleepy, and less attentive.
Protect yourself when you must work at night by doing the following:
Employers must conduct crew meetings and train all workers on work zone safety. They should discuss potential hazards, equipment blind spots, and movement precautions in the activity area.
Employers must also have the following to protect workers in a work zone:
Workers must do the following in a work zone:
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