In 2002, there were 1,181 persons killed while working in or driving by a roadway work zone. In addition, there were more than 40,000 people injured. There are several things to keep in mind so that you don't contribute to these statistics.

  1. Many accidents can be avoided if proper warning is given with adequate time for drivers to adjust their speed and stopping distance. How much warning would you need to properly prepare for a work zone? Test for yourself. Set up a mock work zone and adjust the distances that warning signs are displayed.

  2. Warning signs can be one or a combination of several items, depending upon the type of roadway and the average speed of travel. Depending on local and state ordinances, you may need only orange cones. The addition of “Work Zone Ahead” signs can help drivers encountering the work zone.

  3. OSHA has new standards for safety clothing that goes into effect in 2007, but why wait? High-visibility apparel, as outlined in ANSI/ISEA 107-1999, provides specifications and use of this clothing for employees. These garments must be visible from a minimum distance of 1,280 feet. The retroreflective material should be either orange, yellow, white, silver, yellow-green or a fluorescent version of these colors.

  4. Often, safety vests are mentioned when apparel and worker safety are involved. There are some occupations that are a bit more dangerous with safety vests on (in particular, running a chain saw or chipper where it is easy to snag clothing). There are orange, fluorescent, highly visible T-shirts and sweatshirts that are suitable alternatives and leave less chance to snag clothing during operations.

  5. Maintain equipment: Perform regular maintenance on equipment. Be sure there is sufficient fuel for the equipment and your truck. In roadway work zone environments, any problem that will slow completion of the task adds to the duration of risk.

  6. You should also take precaution when you are working for a client on a busy roadway. Depending on the property and the type of vehicle and trailer you are driving, parking in the driveway is safer than tying up a lane of traffic.

  7. Wear safety equipment as prescribed for the equipment you are using: goggles, ear protection, safety shoes and long pants.

  8. Slow down where necessary. I can't count the number of times I have driven past someone operating a riding mower at high speed right up to the curb. I was sure they would end up in the road. Whether you end up in the road or not, some motorists may think you are going to lose control and they may swerve into traffic to avoid hitting the mower.

  9. Be alert at all times. Be smart. Work smart.

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