Get Adobe Flash player

Safety In the Cone Zone

–Are you prepared for a surprise visit from CAL/OSHA at your Cone Zone?

Safety in The Cone Zone-  Workers in street and highway work zones are exposed to risk of injury from the movement of construction vehicles and equipment within the work zones, as well as from passing motor vehicle traffic. Data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) indicate that of the 841 work-related fatalities in the U.S. highway construction industry between 1992 and 1998, 465 (55%) were vehicle- or equipment-related incidents that occurred in a work zone.  According to the Federal Highway Administration, work zone fatalities have increased approximately 50% since 1998.

Highway workers routinely work in close proximity to construction vehicles and motor vehicle traffic. Flaggers, police officers, and other workers on foot are exposed to the risk of being struck by traffic vehicles or construction equipment if they are not visible to motorists or equipment operators. Workers who operate construction vehicles or equipment are at risk for injury due to overturn, collision, or being caught in running equipment. Highway workers, regardless of their assigned task, regularly work in conditions of low lighting, low visibility, and inclement weather, and may work in congested areas with exposure to high traffic volume and speeds.

Cone Zone Safety

Safety in the Cone Zone

In California, the Department of Transportation has developed and maintained the CA Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CAMUTCD), which provides for uniform design and setup of highway work zones. The primary focus of Part 6 of the CAMUTCD is the interaction between the road user and the work zone. The CAMUTCD contains exhaustive specifications for signage, pavement and curb markings, traffic signals, and marking of school zones, bicycle facilities, and highway-rail crossings. It also prescribes temporary traffic control measures for numerous scenarios involving lane closures, lane shifts, detours, shoulder work, median crossovers, mobile operations, and blasting. The CAMUTCD addresses topics such as training, personal protective equipment, speed reduction, barriers, and lighting as they apply to highway construction. Cal/OSHA states that flaggers shall be trained in the proper fundamentals of flagging moving traffic before being assigned as flaggers.  Signaling directions used by flaggers shall conform to the CA Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CAMUTCD).

The Left Coast Prepper #001

#001: A Simple Plan to Prepare for Disaster and Recovery

Greetings, and welcome to the first offering from the “Left Coast Prepper”, or LCP if you’d like. In a nutshell, I’m offering readers a very simple, very inexpensive, step-by-step plan to create a cache of water, food and gear that will be absolutely necessary for an individual or family to cope with their circumstances after a large emergency or local area disaster.

“Not interested,” you say? Not convinced of the need to prepare for a disaster? OK, I get it; some people require more convincing or a dramatic experience before they see the pressing need. That is exactly what this article is designed to do!

Here’s the deal. I want you to take part in a little exercise. You’re going to get the opportunity to experience firsthand a bit of the stress and anxiety felt by someone who has just come through a major disaster. Some of the stress is real, some requires a little imagination. But if you play along, I guarantee you an eye-opening experience. So, follow the directions as closely as you can to get the most from the drill.

This evening, plan on having a late dinner—don’t eat until after the exercise. After you’ve been home for a while and it’s completely dark outside, begin the preparations. Gather the following items and take them into your bedroom:

• your purse or wallet
• cell phone
• glasses (if you wear glasses)
• car keys
• money
• any electronic devices like your iPod

Put these items into a drawer and close it. Next, for best results, get dressed for bed (pajamas of some kind). If you just can’t see going that far, at least change into a lightweight pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Got it? No shoes, socks, jacket, hat—nothing but shorts and a shirt or pajamas. Now go to the back door & turn off the porch light. Try to make the back yard as dark as possible! Ready? Now go outside, locking the door and pulling it closed behind you. Head out into the middle of the yard and stand there. It should be dark, cold and quiet.

Once you are standing in your yard, I want you to imagine that you have been driven out of your home by an earthquake! Part of the house has collapsed, and you have just barely made it out without being crushed! Looking around, you notice that the quake has caused a power failure. No one has power—it’s as black as the inside of a cat out there!

Stand there for a few minutes and soak in the gravity of the situation. Consider where you are, what you’re wearing, what you have to protect yourself. Feel it! Think about what your options are for survival. Now imagine you begin to detect the odor of natural gas. What will you do?

Now imagine that as you stand there, an aftershock rumbles through and any access to the garage is blocked by partial collapse! The smell of gas is much stronger, and you can faintly make out cries for help coming from your neighbors houses. How will you react?

Let’s up the stakes a bit further. Standing in the yard with you are your spouse and children! You’ve all just barely made it out of the house. Dressed in only PJs, they are cold and frightened. What are you going to tell them? How are you going to protect them? Take several minutes and picture their faces, huddling together, possibly crying and definitely very scared! See it in your mind’s eye, feel the weight of the situation. Stay out there for a while, and really let the night air soak into your bones. Remember, you have only the clothes on your back. It’s going to be a long night.

If you’re like me, completing this exercise will be a trial. I was cold, and a little frightened! But the strongest emotion for me was dread. You see, when I completed this drill, we had next to nothing set aside for recovery supplies. Sad as it was to admit, it was totally true. We had maybe a case or two of bottled water, and the food that was in the pantry, but that was it.

Why would a pro in this business be so ill-prepared, you might ask? Well, I live with “Pollyana!” My wife has simply never had anything “bad” happen to her. She had no experience of any sort of disaster, so she could not be convinced of the need to prepare. Although we’d had several discussions about the subject, I could not convince her of the importance of an emergency cache. You pick your battles, right?

Perhaps you are in the same situation. Or maybe you are the “Pollyana” in your family, and just can’t get your head around this idea of needing to be self-reliant at some point. Whichever role you may find yourself in, after completing this exercise, I do not believe that you will honestly be able to ignore the need for emergency preparation any longer. Having some form of supply cache tucked away to provide for your family is the responsible thing to do! The only question that remains is: where do you start?

In the next offering of The Left Coast Prepper, I will be back to help answer this question. All of the “experts” agree that the most basic and immediate need is water. I’ll show you why this is true, as well as how to acquire at least a 3 days’ supply for around $25.00. After we tackle the water question, it’s on to some food storage, and then how to put aside a small pack with proper clothing for each member of the family.

I hope today’s brief exercise has started to open your eyes and led you to really consider this vital need to prepare for the unknown. So, see ya next time!

Thanks, May God bless!

The Left Coast Prepper (LCP)