What’s at Stake?
Traffic control during roadwork is necessary to keep workers and road users safe when the usual traffic pattern is changed or restricted. Traffic control signs and traffic controllers, or flaggers, help to keep road crews safe by alerting drivers to upcoming construction zones, new traffic patterns, and to expect workers in the area.
What’s the Danger?
On general construction sites, everyone working there knows of the hazards and the rules to follow to keep everyone safe. However, road construction sites are different. They have members of the public driving through them, and these drivers are not always aware of the risks to themselves and the road workers.
Hazards for traffic controllers include:
- collision with vehicles;
- being clipped by wing mirrors;
- construction debris flying up; and
- abusive road users.
How to Protect Yourself
8 easy ways to keep yourself safe:
1. Be prepared.
- Be properly trained.
- Know the traffic management plan.
- Check any equipment to ensure it is in good working order.
- Wear your PPE.
2. Stay in touch.
- Work as a team with other traffic controllers.
- Check how you are communicating with other traffic controllers.
- Take your scheduled breaks so you can stay alert and focused.
3. Be in the zone.
- Familiarize yourself with the traffic control zone.
- Check that all signage, barriers, etc., in your work zone are correctly placed.
- Check that all signage, barriers, etc., are visible in varying conditions, e.g., daylight, inclement weather.
- Stay alert.
- Always look at oncoming traffic.
- Do not have or use distracting devices, e.g., cell phone, music player.
5. …and be seen.
- Wear high visibility jacket and hard hat.
- Stand where you can be seen… but not hit!
6. Stopping traffic.
- Hold the sign away from your body.
- Allow drivers time to stop.
- Don’t assume drivers will stop until they are stationary.
7. Go, go, go.
- Confirm with the other traffic control person that it is safe to let traffic resume.
- Move out of the travel lane when you release traffic.
8. Expect the unexpected.
- Know what to do in an emergency.
- Do not argue with motorists and call for assistance if you feel threatened.
- Note the license plate and call the police if you see a breach of a highway traffic law.
Traffic controllers play a vital role in keeping road workers, motorists, and themselves safe around roadwork. They maintain the flow of traffic to keep the inconvenience to motorists to a minimum.