WORK ZONE SAFETY – NIGHT CONSTRUCTION WORK

Reduced visibility during night construction can increase the amount time it takes for a motorist to see and respond to work activity taking place on or near the roadway. Other factors that can affect a driver’s ability to respond effectively to night construction work activity include age, experience, mental condition, physical condition, weather and familiarity with the roadway.

Reduced visibility during night construction work can also affect an equipment operator’s ability to see and respond effectively to the activity taking place around them. It is important to follow the worker safety plan for night construction work activity which should include the following:

HIGH-VISIBILITY SAFETY APPAREL

  • ANSI Class 3 shirt or vest, as the outermost clothing. Replace these when faded, worn, dirty or defaced.
  • ANSI high-visibility gaiters or bands around the ankles.
  • Hard hat with reflective tape or work light attachment.

ANSI Class 3 apparel and high visibility gaiters place the reflective material on the arms and legs in a design that conveys biological motion (body movement). Road workers wearing biomotion clothing are recognized at significantly longer distances than the standard vest alone.

TEMPORARY WORK AREA LIGHTING

  • Light the work area and approaches to provide visibility for motorists to safely travel through the work zone.
  • Illuminate work activity areas where workers are present to make them visible.
  • Control glare so as not to interfere with the visibility of the work zone by drivers and workers.

VEHICLE LIGHTING

Ensure all lighting and supplemental lighting on construction vehicles and equipment is in good working order.

ACTIVITY WITHIN THE CONSTRUCTION SITE

Night construction activity can also create limited visibility for equipment operators and other construction vehicles.

  • Ensure back up alarms are working correctly.
  • Be aware than equipment blind spots/zones can increase during night work.
  • Use spotters when backing equipment to prevent run overs or back overs.
  • Don’t walk behind or between operating or moving equipment and vehicles.
  • Be aware of the greater chance for trips and falls while walking on the construction site.
  • Follow the temporary traffic control plan and the worker safety plan for night construction work activity.
  • Know the details of the project’s emergency action plan.

Download the printable PDF and recording form here.

REPLACEMENT OF ANSI HIGH-VISIBILITY VESTS AND CLOTHING

High-visibility safety apparel is personal protective safety clothing that is meant to make you more visible (conspicuous) during both daytime and nighttime use. High-visibility clothing is important because it gives the motorist a visual indication there is a person on or near their travel path, where under normal driving conditions people would not be on or near the roadway.

High-visibility vests and clothing must meet the Performance Class 2 or 3 requirements of American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) 107-2004.

All workers within the right-of-way of a federal-aid highway who are exposed either to traffic, or to construction equipment within the work area, shall wear high-visibility safety apparel.

WORKERS AFFECTED BY THIS REQUIREMENT INCLUDE:

  • Highway construction and maintenance crews
  • Flaggers
  • Inspectors
  • Engineering personnel
  • Survey crews
  • Utility crews
  • Responders

WHEN SHOULD HIGH-VISIBILITY SAFETY APPAREL BE REPLACED?

Your high-visibility safety vest and clothing should be replaced when it becomes faded, torn, dirty, soiled, worn or defaced, or if it is not visible at 1,000 feet, day or night. The typical useful service life of high-visibility safety clothing depends on the type of work a person does while wearing the clothing. High-visibility clothing that is worn daily has a typical service life of approximately six months.

Reasons that may cause your vest to wear out more quickly, depending on the amount of use, include:

  • Job task that are dirtier or more demanding and could be more likely to lead to soiling or tears
  • Hotter climates
  • Repeated exposure to ultra-violet rays

WHEN YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR PPE, YOUR PPE WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU!

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Blind Spot Safety

Originally published 05/22/2018

Definition: A blind spot is the area around a vehicle or piece of construction equipment that is not visible to the operators, either by direct line-of-sight or indirectly by use of internal and external mirrors.

Many people know that virtually all vehicles have blind spots, however most people don’t realize how big they are!

Here are some tips that can keep us all safe around vehicles and equipment:

  • If you’re the driver, ensure you don’t do things to distract you from your surroundings while operating the machinery.
  • Cordon off the area with temporary fencing or hazard tape where possible.
  • A spotter should be used when you cannot practically isolate your equipment from other workers.
  • All pedestrians onsite should be aware of a vehicle’s blind spots and know how to signal the driver if required.
  • The machinery should be stopped if someone needs to approach.
  • If possible, do the bulk of the work with machinery with minimal people onsite.
  • Tools/Attachments on vehicles can create greater blind spots. They can also reduce visibility, or swing which can increase the risk to workers being struck or pinned.
  • Watch out for heavy equipment moving with raised buckets and be ready for possible sudden movements of booms or changes in direction of equipment movement.
  • Do not cross directly in front of or immediately behind large, heavy equipment or trucks where the operator sits higher in the vehicle.
  • Properly adjusting vehicle mirrors can substantially reduce blind spots. Video cameras are also a good source to use to reduce blind spots.
  • Technology such as proximity detectors are very useful, but technology doesn’t replace the need for situational awareness.
  • Radars and sensors can also be helpful to warn workers and drivers.
  • Consider GPS installed on equipment as well as wearable GPS tracking worn by workers.
  • Develop an Internal Traffic Control Plan- Strategies to control the flow of construction workers, vehicles, and equipment inside the work zone.
  • Reduce hazards for equipment operators such as: reducing the need to back up, limiting access points to work zones, establishing pedestrian-free areas where possible, and establishing work zone layouts to accommodate the type of equipment.
  • Provide signs within the work zone to give guidance to pedestrians, equipment, and trucks.

Download a recording form here.

Care & Maintenance of Safety Vests

Originally published 05/09/2018

Safety vests are designed to make workers visible to traffic and machine operators under any conditions. Vests must meet ANSI’s performance class 2 or 3 requirements. You must wear it if you are:

  • Part of a highway construction or maintenance crew (this includes flaggers).
  • An inspector.
  • Engineering personnel.
  • Part of a survey crew or utility crew.
  • A responder.

If maintained properly, a vest can maintain an acceptable level of visibility for quite some time. A vest can be washed and cleaned like we do our normal work clothing.Do not neglect washing your vest. Dirt can diminish the intensity of the florescent color. You want the color to be as visible as possible.

One manufacturer suggests machine laundering with like colors, in cold water, on the delicate cycle using a mild detergent. Do not use bleach or fabric softener. If possible, wash the garment inside out. Following these instructions will help protect the reflective tape.

Line drying your vest will also extend the life of the reflective tape. If you choose to machine dry, remove the vest from the dryer immediately. Do not let it sit with other hot clothes next to the dryer’s drum. This could also damage the reflective tape.

Your safety vest should be replaced when it becomes faded, torn, dirty, soiled, worn or defaced, or if it is not visible at 1,000 feet day or night. Factors that may cause your vest to wear out more quickly, depending on the amount of use, include:

  • Higher elevations due to increased ultra-violet rays.
  • Hot climates.
  • The types of work you are doing (some jobs are more dirty or strenuous and could be more likely to lead to soiling or tears).
  • Care and maintenance of your vest.

When it’s time to replace your safety vest, notify your safety compliance officer or supervisor and request a replacement.

The proper care and maintenance of your vest will ensure that you are seen and help you stay safe while on the job. Launder your vest according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and replace it as soon as it is no longer appropriately visible. Your life may depend on it.

Download a recording form here.