It’s always big news when a motorist, often drunk or speeding, plows into a highway work zone, killing or severely injuring themselves, their passengers or some of the construction workers on the site.
But Laborers know that an equally common and lethal hazard in work zones is the dump trucks, cement mixers and other heavy equipment that roam about the site.
As many roadway workers are killed by construction vehicles than by the driving public.
“The reason is obvious,” says Walter Jones, Associate Director of the LHSFNA Occupational Safety and Health Division. “Work zones are tight places. Construction vehicles are big machines with large blind spots. The noise can be deafening. And there are lots of workers moving around on foot.”
In partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the LHSFNA has been at the forefront of efforts to address this problem. The effort took a big step forward this month with the Fund’s publication of a new, 14-page pamphlet, Internal Traffic Control Plans.
According to the publication, an internal traffic control plan (ITCP) is a tool that “project managers can use to coordinate the flow of construction vehicles, equipment and workers operating in work zones.” ITCPs also can be useful for building sites and pipeline jobs.
Controlling traffic inside a work zone involves several principles:
- Reduce the need for vehicles to back up
- Limit the access points to the job site or work zone
- Establish work zone layouts according to the type of equipment involved
- Provide signs within the work zone to guide workers, equipment and trucks
- Design buffer spaces to protect pedestrian workers from errant vehicles or equipment
The pamphlet explains how to set up an ITCP; how to use signage; how to communicate about the ITCP to staff, sub contractors and site workers; how to deal with independent truckers and site visitors; and how to enforce the ITCP. The booklet also offers sample plans for a work zone and building site and a checklist to ensure that all the key questions are asked and answered.
While the LHSFNA OSH staff actually wrote and designed the new publication, other partners – including, especially, NIOSH – helped in the effort. These include the members of the Roadway Safety Alliance – the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), the National Asphalt Paving Association (NAPA), the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Additional assistance was provided by C.L. Williams Consulting, Inc. and Grahman-Migletz Enterprises, Inc.
NIOSH and the LHSFNA are now seeking construction companies that are willing to put ITCPs to work on actual worksites so they can be tested and evaluated. Interested companies are urged to contact the OSH Division at firstname.lastname@example.org.