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.
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).