Construction Season is Upon Us: How to Keep Road Crews Safe While on the Job

It is a common joke in Canada that there are only two seasons: winter and construction season. Following a long Canadian winter, many roads are in need of repair, so you will commonly find road crew workers out with their yellow or orange vests making our roads safe and drivable once again. But it isn’t enough that the roads are safe – employers must also take measures to ensure that their road crews are also safe.

Here are a few things that you should be doing if you employ roadside workers.

Create a traffic control plan.

Depending on the road your crew is working on, traffic control plans will either be approved by the province or the municipality. Some plans are as simple as ensuring that you have an adequate amount of cones or barrels, or a flagperson. Other plans might involve creating a detour route.

Use protective measures.

In addition to using cones and barrels, it is important that each member of your road crew is highly visible to drivers. This may involve ensuring that they are wearing safety vests or that there is sufficient lighting if they are working at night. If night work is being conducted, it is also important to ensure that any lighting is not blinding to oncoming drivers.

Regulate the use of cell phones.

Road crew workers should be focused and alert to possible dangers. And since the use of cellphones can be distracting, mobile devices should be banned except for in designated safe areas.

Keep material storage and parking areas separate from work areas.

Stacks of materials and parked equipment within the work area can not only get in the way and make the workflow less efficient, but it can make workers less visible to drivers and can prevent workers from noticing danger. As much as possible, keep the work area clear of materials and equipment that is not in use.

Ensure your crew has the necessary safety training.

Workers should be trained on how to properly navigate the worksite. They should know how to safely approach and move around any onsite equipment. They should know how to watch and listen for potential dangers.

For those operating equipment, they should also be trained in all the necessary safety procedures including how to watch for their crewmates using their mirrors and onboard cameras.

Avoid complacency.

Roadside workers who have been in the industry for a long time are at risk of becoming complacent. They may fall into the trap of working on “autopilot,” but this is when accidents are likely to occur. Help prevent complacency by having regular daily meetings or safety huddles. Instill a culture of safety within your company.

Contact TeksMed for Disability Management and Return to Work Programs

While it is always best to have measures in place that help you to avoid accidents, you still need to have a solid plan in place in the event that they occur.  At TeksMed, we offer disability management and return to work services. Contact us today to learn how these can benefit your company.

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