How road construction work zones can become safer

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There are plenty of hazards that need to be considered with regards to road construction work zones.

In an average year in the UK, seven workers die and 93 are seriously injured as a result of accidents involving vehicles or mobile plant on construction sites.

With 4,000 miles of new roads set to be built by 2025 and £500 million per year going on filling potholes, there is expected to be a large amount of work taking place on UK roads.

It is always important to consider how safety could be improved, so we have pulled together a few ideas that may help avert harmful incidents.

Raise visibility

A lot of road construction work occurs at night to limit the impact on road users at peak times of day, but this increases the risk posed to workers.

Wearing personal protective equipment like high-visibility clothing can ensure workers are seen clearly. It is important to make sure the clothing meets the BS EN ISO 20471 regulations and offers a level of protection suitable for the working environment.

The site should also be well lit using spotlights, while hard hats and steel-toe boots can help keep workers protected regardless of the time of day.

Pedestrian management

A simple way to reduce accidents involving workers and vehicles or mobile plant is to do a better job of keeping them apart.

Using separate entrances and exits for machinery and people, and provide unobstructed pedestrian walkways with clearly signposted crossings for vehicles.

Barriers between the walkways and roads could also be beneficial, ensuring pedestrians and vehicles are clearly separated.

Reduce vehicle movement

The number of vehicles on site can be limited by offering parking for workers and visitors away from the main work area.

Designating someone to manage the amount of traffic on site could also be helpful, particularly on busy days when a number of deliveries may be expected. Having storage options could be good for stopping delivery vehicles from having to venture around the site too.

The person you designate to monitor the traffic situation could also be given greater responsibility with regards to monitoring and enforcing on-site safety.

Control traffic flow

When working on a road that remains in use, it’s paramount that drivers are given plenty of notice through the use of road signs.

Having a reduced speed limit in place well before they reach the site will provide a safer environment, while cones can be used to create space between workers and traffic.

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