Pennsylvania is serious about trying to protect its road crews. As workers start gearing up for the spring roadway repairs, state officials are getting aggressive about fining drivers who exceed the posted speed limit or exhibit otherwise reckless behavior in construction zones. They’ve even stepped up enforcement of traffic laws through the state’s Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program in an effort to get drivers to slow down and pay attention to the dangers.
There are bound to be drivers who simply won’t obey the speed limits, however. That makes it important to take safety steps of your own if you’re working on a crew. Some important personal safety steps include:
- Wear high-visibility clothing and personal protective gear. Hard-hats with reflective strips and neon orange safety vests can help you remain visible, even in low light. That’s important because 25% of accidents involving road crews happen in the evening, despite the fact that only 9% of road workers are involved in work after dusk.
- Be cautious and conscious of moving vehicles. It isn’t just ordinary traffic that you have to be wary about — you also have to watch out for work vehicles. Before you move from any given position, scan for any moving vehicles. Try to make eye contact with the driver so that you are both aware of your positions.
- Insist on spotters and flaggers and learn their signals. Having dedicated spotters and flaggers to assist when you move vehicles, have to walk into the road or unload equipment can save your life. Make sure that you understand the hand signals they use so that there are no dangerous miscommunications.
No matter how cautious you are, you may still end up in an accident while working on a road crew. If that happens, getting your workers’ compensation approved is essential to your future.