The project supervisor can evaluate the effectiveness of the temporary traffic control setup by walking or riding the job looking for skid marks, damaged barricades and other evidence of near misses.
Temporary traffic control devices — such as signage, warning devices, paddles and concrete barriers used consistently throughout the work zone — can also help reduce injuries. These should be set up within a reasonable time before construction begins so that motorists don’t become complacent and ignore warning signs and devices when the work does begin.
Motorists should be given plenty of advance warning of upcoming work zones, and the messages on the warning signs should be simple and brief.
It is also effective to provide flaggers with devices that increase their visibility to passing motorists and construction vehicles.
In residential construction, large vehicles on small lots present special hazards for workers and home owners, especially during remodeling or making additions. A ground guide should help move big vehicles that have limited views.
Following are safe practices that workers should follow when they are working near vehicles:
- Use a back-up alarm or guide during all backing of bi-directional machines like rollers, compactors, front-end loaders, bulldozers and similar equipment, excluding forklifts.
- Use a horn that is distinguishable from the surrounding noise level as needed when the machine is moving in either direction.
- Keep the horn in operating condition.
- Be sure that all vehicles have full operational braking systems and brake lights and that parking brakes are set when not in use. Block and chock on hills as needed.
- Be sure that all vehicles have working headlights and taillights when used in low light.
- Use seats and seat belts when transporting workers in motor and construction vehicles.
- Inspect all vehicles before using them for broken or unsafe conditions, including: all brake systems, tires, the horn, steering, couplings, seat belts (which are not required for equipment operated standing up) and any other safety and health program system.
Regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (29 CFR 1926, Subpart O) address operation of vehicles and equipment within an off-highway job site not open to public traffic. However, Subpart O is not exhaustive in its coverage of machinery types or safety equipment, and it does not address work practices, traffic control plans or shift work.
Flagging and signaling practices are discussed in general terms in Subpart G, which covers signs, signals and barricades. Subpart G defers to the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices on matters relating to hand signals, barricades and traffic control devices.
OSHA’s jurisdiction over interstate motor vehicles is limited to those operated in the workplace and not on public roads. The Department of Transportation has jurisdiction over interstate trucking on public roads and over all transportation of hazardous materials.
For sources of more online information on this topic, click here.
For information on this and other issues related to construction safety, e-mail George Middleton at NAHB or call him at 800-368-5242 x8590.
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