Effects of Wearable Light Systems on Safety of Highway Construction WorkersAuthor/Presenter: Nnaji, Chukwuma; Jafarnejad, Ali; Gambatese, John
Recent statistics indicate that the number of injuries and fatalities on highway construction projects continues to rise. This increase is attributed primarily to unsafe driver behavior, such as distracted driving, and the distinct features of highway construction projects, for example, nighttime paving. Nighttime paving helps avoid traffic congestions and benefits from the cooler temperature at night. However, poorer visibility of workers during nighttime work presents a safety risk that can lead to injuries and fatalities. Despite the work zone lighting standards and regulations developed and adopted by State departments of transportation and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the number of accidents and injuries in work zones has increased in recent years. Studies in other industries indicate that wearable devices, such as wearable lighting systems (WLSs), could help improve worker safety. However, an understanding of the effectiveness of these devices and the manner by which to efficiently implement them in work zone operations is currently lacking in the construction industry. The present study proposes to fill this gap in knowledge and practice by evaluating the effectiveness of WLSs in different work zone applications. Results indicate the absence of standards or regulations for the use of WLSs. Findings from qualitative assessments of results from multiple tests and live projects show that WLSs could increase the visibility of dump operators, spotters, and density technicians. The study recommends optimum locations for WLSs accordingly.