7 Highway Construction Safety Tips for Your Company
Did you know that 1 in 5 worker deaths in 2019 came from those who worked in construction?
Highway construction, in particular, can be incredibly unsafe if not wearing and using the proper safety equipment. And that's why we've put together some tips for your business to stay safe — ultimately helping you save lives in the process.
So if your business handles highway construction, keep reading to learn some important tips and tricks to keep your worksite accident-free.
1. Keep The Work Site Organized
A disorganized worksite can be very dangerous for workers.
When you have an unorganized worksite, it can become difficult to determine where objects are concerning others, making it possible for accidents to happen more frequently.
To prevent this, you can assign specific areas for various pieces of equipment. For example, you can designate an area where dump trucks can unload their dirt and move it to the correct pile with a bulldozer.
2. Keep a Safe Distance Between Workers and Passing Vehicles
Make sure there is plenty of signage and other warnings in place to alert drivers to the presence of workers. In a highway construction zone, it's difficult to predict when a driver might swerve into the work zone, so it's important to keep workers away from traffic.
But, if a passing vehicle hits a worker, the crew should hold up traffic as much as possible and call 911.
3. Avoid Distractions While Driving
If drivers are talking on the phone, texting, or doing anything else that takes their attention off the road, they are more likely to have an accident. You should avoid most of these devices while driving in a work zone.
You can try implementing policies that prohibit the use of certain devices while driving in a work zone.
4. Be Aware of Weather Conditions
Working in extreme weather conditions can be very dangerous.
Make sure workers are aware of any severe weather conditions that might occur and take appropriate precautions. For example, if there is lightning in the area, workers should stop working and take shelter until it passes.
You can also try to have different strategies set up for working in different weather conditions. For instance, if it is raining, workers could use tents or other types of temporary shelters. If it's hot, workers could take breaks more often.
5. Always Stay Alert and Be Aware of Your Surroundings
It is easy to become distracted or fall into a routine when working at the same site every day, but that can lead to accidents. Workers should always be alert and aware of their surroundings so they know if something unexpected is happening around them.
One way to encourage your workers to stay alert is to rotate their work assignments regularly. This will help keep them from getting too comfortable in one area and allow them to stay alert for potential hazards.
6. Make Sure All Tools are Safe to Use
Make sure that all tools used in the work zone are always kept in good condition. Before using any tools, make sure supervisors inspect them and approve them for use on the worksite. An improperly maintained tool can be very dangerous to workers.
You can prevent these types of injuries by providing worker training and safety equipment.
7. Report All Injuries Immediately
When an accident does occur, the first thing to do is report it as soon as possible so that you can give immediate medical attention as needed. Also, some states require employers to keep records of all on-the-job injuries for some time after they occur.
While you want to be as proactive as possible, the reality is that accidents may happen. How you act in the moments immediately after the accident can make a big difference in the outcome for both the worker and your company.
In addition, you should always try to investigate accidents when they happen. Find out exactly what happened so that you can prevent it from happening again or take preventive measures for a similar accident later on down the line.
What Are the Hazards of Highway Construction?
Now that we know about how to keep safe on the worksite, let's learn a bit more about the dangers of highway construction. Some of these hazards include:
Falls – Falls from height are the leading cause of death for construction workers.
Struck By Object – Getting struck by a vehicle or equipment is the second leading cause of death for construction workers.
Electrocutions – According to OSHA, electrocutions are more likely to occur around electrical equipment and power lines than anywhere else on a worksite.
Caught-In/Between – Caught-in or between accidents happen when a worker gets crushed or trapped between two objects.
In addition to the hazards listed above, workers need to be aware of the dangers associated with working near traffic. Highway construction workers should always be aware of moving vehicles, as a vehicle can unexpectedly change lanes or swerve into a work zone.
When working in a construction zone, companies have a responsibility to protect their workers from these hazards and keep them safe while they work.
What Else Can Companies Do to Keep Their Workers Safe?
On top of the tips here, employers should provide their workers with all of the necessary PPE for construction safety. This is the gold standard for construction companies.
What Is Personal Protective Equipment?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is any item worn by an individual for protection against injuries and accidents. There are many different types of PPE, including:
Hard Hats – A hard hat is a type of head protection worn by construction workers. It can help protect from falling objects or electrical shock.
Safety Glasses – These glasses protect the eyes from any dust or debris that might be in the air. Workers may also wear safety goggles.
Earplugs/Muffs – Earplugs or muffs can help protect workers from loud noises, which can cause hearing loss.
High Visibility Clothing – Highway construction apparel includes wearing high visibility clothing. Bright safety vests are the best examples of high visibility apparel. This can help drivers see their workers in a construction zone.
Keeping Your Workers Safe
By following these safety tips, you can help reduce the chances of an accident happening and keep your workers safe while working in a highway construction zone. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it's a great place to start.
Our team has years of experience outfitting construction teams with the best high visibility safety apparel. If you're unsure of where to start -- we can help.
Contact us to learn more about how our team can help.