Despite numerous advances in safety technology and new legislation for construction and repair workers, roadway and bridge work still needs to be improved. While workplace deaths have been reduced by nearly 2/3 since the post-WWII levels, there are still a staggering twelve deaths or significant injuries daily in the construction sector. How can you and your crew avoid such failures in safety? Here we have a few tips that may save a life.
Wear Your Personal Protective Gear And Safety Vests
While working near active roadways, vibrant and reflective safety vests should be worn, even if there is adequate light and you are operating a fair distance from the street. Distracted driving has continued to grow in seriousness as cell phones, and in-car distractions become more numerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, there were over 40,000 Americans killed in vehicle accidents in 2021.
All road and bridge workers must typically operate in a zone where cars usually drive. Wearing a high visibility vest warns drivers that may disregard speed or temporary stop signs. The vest’s vibrant colors and reflective nature will draw drivers’ eyes and reduce the chance that crew members are struck or otherwise injured by passing vehicles.
Additional Personal Safety Equipment Includes:
- Gloves- Wear gloves, including those with cut-resistant and thick padding features.
- Boots- Proper footwear should include closed-toed boots and steel-toed fronts when there is a risk of debris or falling objects
- Safety Glasses/Goggles- Preventing eye injuries from dust or failing equipment is paramount
- Helmets- Helmets should be worn on any site where work is being done above shoulder height.
Use The Proper Equipment Like Portable Cofferdams
While there is a near-infinite number of situations and specialized equipment, you should always research and ensure that you have the right tool for the job. One such safety device would be a portable cofferdam for bridge work. Even a thin layer of water can be deadly, and due to the unforgiving uncertainty of nature, a portable cofferdam can defend crews from flooding, debris, and electrocution when using power tools.
In addition to cofferdams, proper barriers should be used when working near or on a roadway. Cement barricades, bright orange and white painted fences, and temporary signage can warn drivers of construction crews. Many road work signs can be left for long periods, incentivizing drivers to ignore the warnings when teams are absent. Ensure you place your barriers, signage, and cofferdams just before roadwork begins.
Always Have Fire Protection
Occasionally, road work may be done near utility lines and untended roadside plants. Having a fire blanket and fire-resistant clothing can reduce injuries, and fire extinguishers on hand can save equipment and reduce utility damage.
Proper Bridge Equipment
Bridges have a high chance of falls, and all crews should use specialized equipment, even if the bridge is only a few feet above ground level. Hydra platforms can move workers directly under the bridge. Bridge walkers can be used when the space beneath a bridge is tight. Even small firms should implement proper equipment and can use rental services rather than owning every piece of equipment.
Use Well-Maintained And Safe Vehicles
Finally, many injuries on road work happen from faulty equipment or poorly maintained work vehicles. You should always ensure that any piece of large equipment or vehicle is adequately maintained. Always check that indicator lights are functioning, mirrors on cars are in place, install backup alarms to warn workers and pedestrians, and ALWAYS wear your seatbelt. High-velocity impacts can still eject passengers even in accidents where one vehicle isn’t moving.
Reach Out to Dam-It-Dams to Learn More About Our Inflatable Cofferdams
We’re well-versed in construction site safety at Dam-It-Dams because of our decades of experience in the industry. If you’d like to learn more about how inflatable cofferdams can ensure your workers stay safe on any bridge construction or repair project, feel free to give us a call today at (810) 695-1695 or contact us through our online contact form for a free cofferdam quote.