Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Traffic Safety: Education, Proper Work Practices Key to Work Zone Safety

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Traffic Safety: Education, Proper Work Practices Key to Work Zone Safety

Article excerpt

A new report by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) shows the United States leads the world in the percentage of road deaths and injuries to passenger car occupants compared to other road users.

George Wolff, CSP, writes in his "Work Zone Safety/Traffic Control Chapter" in the new American Society of Safety Engineers Construction Safety Management and Engineering Book, that the number of incidents, fatalities and injuries related to work zones is on the rise. More than 1,100 men, women and children are killed in roadway work zones annually, with most of those fatalities being motorists. And with motorists, on average, encountering a work zone every 40-50 miles, the work zone accident risk increases.

To assist employers and workers on improving roadway work zone safety, Wolff recommends they be aware of the many types of worker hazards and exposures to risk; the need for a temporary traffic control work zone; setting up an advance work zone warning area and transition area; the hazards of installing, modifying, and removing work zones; how to best equip a flag person; driver awareness; and liability and litigation.

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Wolff warns that in addition to the risk from impaired drivers, who at night will focus on and drive toward the light in a work zone area, roadway construction workers face a multitude of hazards which include being struck or caught between equipment, injury from overuse and poor body conditioning, and environmental exposures to heat, cold and sun. …

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