The construction industry is a dangerous field as a whole, and highway work zones come with a particular set of dangers.
In Part 1 of this four-part article, we went over some safety statistics and discussed the importance of safety planning. In Part 2, we gave tips regarding visibility, especially at night. Part 3 explored weather, work area organization, and personal protective equipment. Today in Part 4, our Sarasota construction attorneys will conclude our series with a discussion of site-specific safety programs and physical maintenance.
Different Safety Plans for Different Sites
Any road work zone will inevitably have some hazards and vulnerabilities that are different from those you’ve experienced in the past. Thought it’s important to take into consideration the dangers and challenges you may have faced in similar previous projects, it’s unwise to think of any project as downright identical to any you have experienced before.
Your safety program should be tailored to the specific project and jobsite, taking into account the potential new dangers. Site-specific safety programs should include an assessment of potential hazards, as well as plans addressing how to control, mitigate, or completely prevent them. They should also include safety training schedules and responses to potential emergencies, including on-site first aid.
In a physical job like construction, taking care of one’s body is extra important. Construction workers spend days on their feet, lifting materials, operating heavy machinery, and otherwise exerting themselves physically. Skipping breakfast or running on only a few hours’ sleep can compromise their ability to perform these tasks safely. This can lead to accidents and injuries, which not only harm the individual(s) involved but could also require the legal assistance of a Sarasota construction attorney.
Hydration is critical in all areas of construction, but highway construction poses a special threat of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. This is because asphalt absorbs 95 percent of the sun’s rays, so asphalt temperatures can be a whopping 30 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the surrounding air temperature.
To combat the negative effects of the sun and heat, workers should drink lots of water and hydrating beverages with electrolytes, like sports drinks and coconut water. Dehydrating drinks like soda and coffee should be consumed in minimal amounts.
No matter how much water your employees are drinking, hours of uninterrupted sun can be fatiguing and dangerous. It is important to allow breaks in the shade. Even though you might be “losing” a few minutes of work here or there, healthy and safe workers are a long-term productivity win.
Any questions regarding highway construction zone safety?
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.