Worker Safety During Operations with Mobile AttenuatorsAuthor/Presenter: Theiss, LuAnn; Bligh, Roger P.
While most transportation agencies are very familiar with truck-mounted attenuators, trailer-mounted attenuators are increasing in popularity. There is a concern for the level of protection that attenuators provide for workers when they are mounted on trailers compared to trucks. This research evaluated and compared the level of protection provided to workers by truck-mounted and trailer-mounted attenuators. No crash testing was conducted; instead, the researchers used existing crash test report data for the comparison. The researchers found that the use of heavier support vehicles for these mobile attenuators provided better protection for workers and recommend that TxDOT maintains the current policy of requiring 20,000 lb support vehicles, regardless of attenuator type. In addition, the researchers found that the concern of trailermounted attenuators swinging around may not be justified, given that post-impact trajectories of the impacting vehicles are similar to those reported during truck-mounted attenuator impact testing.