Practicing Work Zone Safety in Rainy Conditions

We’ve all heard the old saying “April showers bring May flowers”, a well-intentioned phrase meant to bring an optimistic perspective to the dreary weather that April can commonly bring. However, in the world of work zones, April showers often bring accidents and dangerous conditions. As work zones and temporary traffic control (TTC) zones pop up across the country now that it’s spring, are you prepared for the potential dangers that the sporadic weather can bring?

Tips for keeping your work zone safe during rain

Here are five ways to keep your work zone and the workers within it, safe during inclement weather.

1. Wear proper gear.

Since rain obscures visibility for both those in the work zone with you and the drivers on the road, it’s imperative that road workers wear gear that increases their visibility and safety. This can include (but is not limited to):

  • High-visibility/ reflective clothing. Officially, it doesn’t matter if it’s a bright, cloudless day or a torrential downpour, all workers in a temporary traffic control zone must wear high-visibility clothing. According to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD),

“All workers, and emergency responders, within the right-of-way who are exposed either to traffic or to work vehicles and construction equipment within the TTC zone shall wear high-visibility safety apparel…”

(MUTCD Section 6D.03, Worker Safety Conditions)

  • Footwear with tread & gloves with grip. Rain makes things slippery. Wearing shoes with extra tread will help prevent falls and slips, and wearing gloves with a slip-proof grip will make it easier to hold traffic control signs and tools in the work zone.
  • Rain gear. In rainy conditions, it’s ideal to wear proper rain gear like a rain jacket and pants. Wearing appropriate rain gear will keep workers comfortable, which in turn will keep them focused on the job at hand.

2. Use weather-proof equipment.

Now that you’ve got the proper apparel, you need to make sure that the equipment you use in your work zone or temporary traffic control zone is rain-ready. This might sound like common sense, but absolutely do not use any tools that are not rated for outdoor use in the rain. Using tools with extra grip can be very helpful in rainy conditions as well.

3. Don’t rush.

Working in a temporary traffic control zone in rainy weather can be challenging and uncomfortable. We get it. However, do not rush around the work zone in an attempt to get your work done faster. Like we mentioned above, rain makes things slippery. Moving quickly and without extra caution can cause slips, falls, and accidents, potentially putting yourself, your co-workers, and even drivers in danger.

4. Be extra aware of the drivers in the work zone.

You can’t control the drivers passing through your work zone or TTC zone, but you can control your awareness of what is going on around you. In rainy conditions, many drivers will be frustrated or anxious, and potentially unprepared to make the necessary adjustments to their driving to be safe. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) recognizes that rain impacts visibility distance, pavement friction, and lane obstruction. Precipitation also influences vehicle performance and driver behaviors, like speed control.

5. Use an automated flagger assistance device (AFAD).

Rainy conditions present dangers to everyone in your work zone, but especially to flaggers. Flaggers are in a dangerous position even on the sunniest of days, but the risk of their job great increases in rainy conditions. Implementing traffic control devices, like an automated flagger assistance device, in your work zone takes flaggers off of the front lines and also provides increased visibility to drivers entering and exiting the work zone.

At IntelliStrobe, the safety of road workers is our number one priority. This is why we have dedicated ourselves to manufacturing industry leading AFADs to keep flaggers and those inside the work zone as safe as possible.

Contact IntelliStrobe to learn more about how you can help revolutionize work zone safety.

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