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Published: July, 2008; Vol 5, Num 2

 

ANSI Seeks Safety Standard for Highway Work Zones

This month, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A10 committee will hold a meeting on proposed safety standards in construction and demolition. Up for consideration is the A10.47 standard, “Work Zone Safety for Highway Construction.” It is currently under development by the A10 work zone subcommittee which the LHSFNA’s Occupational Safety and Health Division chairs.

The A10.47 standard has an extensive section specifically defining roadway construction terminology. It further details appropriate procedures and precautions in the following areas:

  • Traffic Control
  • Flagger Safety
  • Runover/Backover Prevention
  • Equipment Operator Safety
  • Excavation, Electrical and Power Tool Safety
  • Fall Prevention
  • Materials Handling
  • Health Hazards
  • Night Work
  • Personal Protective Equipment

“Night work and illumination, traffic control measures and changes to flagger training are just a few important points,” says the LHSFNA’s Senior Safety and Health Specialist Travis Parsons. “Essentially, any place we have ‘shalls’ or ‘shoulds’ will be up for discussion, because those are the requirements and recommendations for contractors.”

Although ANSI standards are voluntary, they are often cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) and have become precursors to OSHA standards. They can also be viewed as an industry “best practice” standard.

Much of the expertise and information available in A10.47 is made possible by a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Work Zone Safety grant. Through this program, the FHWA provides funding to help organizations facilitate highway work zone safety training and develop guidelines for injury and fatality prevention. The ANSI standard is part of the “guideline development” category of the grant program. For more information on the FHWA grant program, visit the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse

In 2005, more than 1,000 fatalities resulted from motor vehicle crashes into work zones, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. This is an increase of four percent since 2003 and 55 percent since 1997. Motor vehicle crashes in work zones accounted for more than 41,000 injuries reported in 2003 – a 14 percent jump since 1996.

As the A10.47 undergoes revision and voting by the A10 committee, LIFELINES will keep you updated on its progress.

Keeping workers safe in highway work zones is a major part of our mission at the LHSFNA. You can find many related resources on the Work Zone Safety section of our website. Also, the Roadway Safety Program is an excellent information and training tool for signatory contractors. This interactive program, developed in part by the LHSFNA and the Laborers-AGC, depicts common hazards in highway construction and how to avoid them. To register for a free download, visit WorkZoneSafety.org.

[Jennifer E. Jones]