One More Plan Will Not Hurt: More Preparation Time at the Jobsite May Prevent an Injury…or Save a LifeAuthor/Presenter: Sant, Brad
A review of the causes of injuries and fatalities for roadway construction workers leads to the conclusion that most could be prevented. Most causes of injuries and fatalities can be reduced and perhaps eliminated with just a little more planning. The additional planning will actually save time and money. In reviewing the causes of death for workers in roadway construction, one hazard jumps out – “struck by” incidents. Almost 45% of roadway construction fatalities occur when workers are run over or backed over-and not just by motorist who ignore the signs. Half the struck-by fatalities are caused by construction vehicles and equipment. For the past five years, a concept of “internal traffic control” has been discussed among safety professionals as a means to reduce struck-by incidents. In short, this concept demands that contractors and state DOTs plan a traffic pattern for construction vehicles, dump trucks, equipment and workers much in the same manner as we currently plan for motorist traffic that will pass through the work zone. While the concept is sound, internal traffic control plans (ITCPs) are rare in the industry. Many have yet to hear about it or fear it will cause more delays for the industry. However, an ITCP need not be complex or expensive. Through a little planning, many of the hazards that lead to these injuries can be avoided. For those injuries classified as “struck by other objects,” the most important thing an employer can do is to ensure that workers are supplied with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).