Seven Tips on Highway Worker Safety
It's always risky to work on or near a highway. Dump trucks, heavy equipment and traffic can cause serious injuries. Over 100 American highway construction workers died in accidents during 2013. Loud noises and harsh weather also create significant health hazards. Fortunately, basic safety precautions and equipment often save lives.
1) Drivers can see workers more easily when they wear brightly colored vests or reflective t-shirts. Visible clothing protects people from mobile equipment as well. Almost half of highway worker fatalities occur when passing cars or heavy machines hit construction personnel.
2) During spring and summer, more people travel and work zones proliferate. Meanwhile, very bright sunlight can reduce visibility at times. This makes it even more important to wear highly visible clothing. Reflective t-shirts provide a desirable option on hot summer days.
3) The best way to avoid injuries is to close the road and create a detour. When this isn't feasible, block off an entire lane and use flaggers to direct traffic. They should wear reflective t-shirts or jackets and carry hand-held signs with strobe lights.
4) Use a variety of methods to warn drivers about roadwork. Speed bumps, safety cones and flashing lights will draw their attention. The Texas Department of Insurance urges workers to deploy very bright lights during the day and reduce the brightness at night.
5) People need training to avoid heavy equipment injuries, communicate with motorists and use safety devices properly. They should also learn how to set up barriers in an effective way. To maximize safety, managers must ensure that all workers undergo comprehensive training.
6) Be aware that some tools and machinery can produce harmful amounts of noise. They have the potential to trigger temporary or permanent hearing loss. HealthDay urges construction workers to use sound level meters and wear earplugs or earmuffs when necessary.
7) Hot summer weather can cause dehydration, heat stroke and even skin cancer. Outdoor workers should thoroughly apply sunscreen, especially when they wear reflective t-shirts. They also need to drink water regularly and learn the signs of common heat-related illnesses.
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