By: Carmen Capitano, GSC, NCSO, Health & Safety Manager
We are now fully in road construction season and all across the province, potholes are being filled, bridges are being constructed and roads are being repaved. It’s imperative for all companies who work in and around roadways to ensure that traffic protection is a top priority and that an adequate training program is in place. Here are a few tips for ensuring road safety on the job:
Ensure that road workers are familiar with applicable laws and regulations: The Occupational Health & Safety Act and the Ontario Regulations for Construction Projects define responsibilities and requirements for working around traffic. Furthermore, the Ontario Traffic Manual Book 7 – Temporary Conditions, outlines rules that companies must follow pertaining to work on or near roadways. Ensure that each member of your team is trained on the Manual and has a copy with them at all times.
Build traffic control into your Health & Safety plan: Any company that engages in activities that require work on roadways must build traffic control guidance into it’s Health & Safety plan. Guidance should focus on ensuring high visibility for both drivers and road workers. This includes best practices related to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), vehicle parking procedures, signage, and setting up/taking down traffic control devices.
Create customized, project-specific traffic protection plans: Every project is unique and so are the health and safety hazards they present. Before initiating any project that involves traffic control or proximity to vehicular traffic, a customized, project-specific traffic protection plan should be completed. Equip road workers with a traffic control planning sheet that can be used to document information prior to initiating work.
Maintain a vehicle safety program: In addition to a Health & Safety policy and/or manual, companies that maintain a fleet and engage in roadwork activities should also enforce a vehicle safety program. The program should outline, at a minimum, rules and responsibilities with regards to how company vehicles are to be used, accident procedures and reporting requirements, safe parking protocols, vehicle maintenance requirements, and a substance abuse policy. The program should also mandate daily vehicle inspections.
Enforce a mandatory Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) policy: When working on any project that requires traffic control, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a must. At a minimum, PPE should include a Class E hardhat, CSA-certified Grade 1 safety boots, reflective safety vests or clothing, and where necessary, eye and hearing protection. Additional high visibility wear such as reflective strips should be applied for night work. Additional PPE may be required depending on the nature and location of the work. Make sure that these requirements are clearly stated in your Health & Safety policy or manual.
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