Think about your work zone for a minute. How are you communicating safety procedures to your employees? Are you utilizing the latest in safety technology? Are your employees ditching safety procedures to meet tight deadlines? If your answers to questions 1 and 3 are yes, and question 2 is no, then you need to take a close look at how you can encourage worker safety in your work zone.
Communicate safety procedures to employees
If you were to ask a random employee how to safely react to a vehicle entering a work zone, would they know the answer? While yes, in sudden and dangerous situations our bodies often respond in fight or flight mode, you still need to have concrete procedures in place. Here are some ways to communicate safety measures to your employees in a road work zone.
- Start at the beginning. A lot of this communication starts during employee training. Even if you have seasoned workers coming onto your site to work, every work zone is different. At the beginning of new employee training, take time to communicate existing safety protocols and policy and make sure to include it into any written training materials, like an employee handbook.
- Communicating changes. If after a risk assessment, some safety-related procedures change, make sure that your employees are aware of and understand the changes right away. For safety procedures to work correctly, everyone needs to be in the know.
Utilize new safety equipment and technologies
There are many new products and inventions revolutionizing work zone safety across the country. New technologies such as an automated flagger assistance device (AFAD) are very easy to introduce to your work zone, and help to keep workers and drivers safe. AFADs take human flaggers off of the front lines and place them safely outside of the work zone. AFADs are the perfect solution for your next construction flagging project because they are more effective at directing traffic, they don’t take away human jobs, and they keep flaggers and other work zone employees safe.
Set reasonable deadlines for your road construction project
If your work zone is a culture of disregarding safety procedures to get things done, then you’re doing it wrong. Employee safety should always be your top priority. Again, a large part of changing your safety culture is work zone communication. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that employees need access to safety and health information and that workers must be encouraged to report safety and health concerns without fear of repercussions. Create a system and processes for reporting, that way, you can be in the know as soon as a safety risk pops up.