As a municipal asphalt paving provider, we work closely with teams to help with public projects like paved walkways, bike trails, road repair, and street maintenance. We’ve learned a thing or two about road construction safety and want to share tips for other municipal workers who may be working on projects beyond asphalt pavement. Here are the best practices we follow ourselves in order to ensure not only our team stays safe, but help the municipal employees we work with stay safe as well.
Safety Training Matters
Staying safe starts well before the project even begins. Training sessions off-site should establish important protocols like identifying hazards on the job, what communication signals will be used, how to handle road traffic, and what to do in an emergency. A single representative should be chosen to oversee that these protocols are being followed and keep an eye out for problems as the work continues. As the project begins and continues, don’t forget regular safety check-ins every morning to keep everyone on the same page.
High-visibility vests and other clothing are a necessity to help workers be seen as pedestrian traffic. This is especially important for crews who are working during the evening hours or in dimly lit areas. Beyond that, gloves, protective boots, respirators, and headphones used to cancel noise are also additional layers of protection against the hazards that can be found on road construction worksites. Check gear regularly for any sign of disrepair and consider making use of gear a requirement on the jobsite to encourage a culture of safety.
Establish a Perimeter
Your crew needs enough room to work in order to stay safe. Before you do anything else, set up cones and barriers to allow for this while also keeping the flow of traffic moving through the area. Give drivers enough time to make a shift before they reach the worksite. Remember to mark safe paths of travel for workers and their equipment, and designate an area to store machinery and other equipment. These markings will also indicate where utility hazards (like power lines) may cause a risk to both drivers and workers.
Watch Your Mount and Exit
Getting on and off large and heavy equipment is one of the most dangerous parts of using it. Falling onto an active worksite while machinery is moving can lead to serious injury and even death. Use ladders and footholds correctly, clean gloves and boots so they don’t slip, and don’t carry or hold things as you mount. When dismounting, do the same and lower yourself in a controlled manner — don’t jump! In either case, never get on or off machinery when it’s moving.
Take Care With Loading and Unloading
Heavy road construction machinery has a high risk of rolling over if they’re not loaded or unloaded carefully and correctly. Keep trailers on even ground when moving equipment on and off trucks, and allow enough room for maneuverability. Use a spotter to help keep the process safe and keep non-essential workers away from trailers and equipment during the loading or unloading process. Strap down equipment and machinery to trailers and trucks to prevent shifting to and from the jobsite.
Watch the Crowds
Workers who are waiting for other tasks to finish before starting theirs tend to congregate around work being done. This force of habit could become a danger if machine operators don’t have room to complete their tasks. Jobsite foremen should consistently enforce this so the operator isn’t distracted by doing so, and it should be an important point to stress during daily safety meetings. Operators should use the horn as a warning, check behind and to the sides of the machine before starting, and stop equipment if and when necessary.
It’s important for the municipal teams we work with (and even those we don’t!) to understand the fundamentals of road construction safety. Our team is thoroughly and regularly trained and educated about best practices and protocol, which means you can trust us to keep your team safe to complete municipal road construction projects.
When considering your options for an upcoming municipal project, it’s important to rethink picking solely based on price. Often, we hear about bids that amount to less than what the cost of materials should be — but what’s the cost of working with a team that doesn’t make road construction safety a priority? Schedule a consultation with our team of pavement experts today to get started.