One of the most dangerous work environments involves engagement around and near moving vehicles. Knowing and understanding the rules and regulations is essential for proper safety precautions to maintain effectiveness.Here,Safety Marking Inc., a nationally respected leader in pavement markings, details critical steps to help an organization prevent harm to employees and maximize safety within a roadway work zone. Safety in the work zone begins long before the team arrives at the site. As a company, Safety Marking Inc. recognizes the importance of organizing work schedules and procedures to ensure protection for all employees. “At Safety Marking Inc., we take the safety of our employees and the community very seriously. SMC maintains a proactive approach to ensure everyone goes home safe to family and friends. Our focus and support are provided by the owner of Safety Marking and his management staff; however, all employees show excellent respect and dedication to the program, and the training provided. We are all on the #SAMETEAM, and everyone helps to keep us safe.” stated Steve Conlogue, HSE Manager at Safety Marking Inc.
Safety Marking Inc. has various protocols for employees performing highway work on foot. One protocol is to position the applicator truck, attenuator truck, or law enforcement vehicle between the employees and traffic. Additionally, the setting of proper traffic control devices to warn and guide vehicular traffic is important for everyone’s safety.Safety Marking – Safety Practices
- When possible, have workers together and/or have a communication plan.
- Minimize the potential risks of working alone.
- Provide appropriate training and education.
- Report all near misses to the safety department.
- Position workers, where possible, in locations of highest visibility.
- Ensure proper traffic control.
- Use GPS, dash cameras, and additional safety lighting on company vehicles.
- Utilize radar notification with speed boards and directional message boards.
“I learned about ATSSA in the early 1990’s, the American Traffic Safety Services Association, that advocated for highway worker safety. I joined ATSSA and have learned much that has helped me keep my employees safe. In fact, I am currently a Director on the ATSSA Board. With its emphasis on worker safety, the training available through ATSSA has helped me to not only keep our people safe but to also make our operations safer. Networking with and learning from other long time ATSSA member companies like Safety Marking, Inc., and the sharing of best practices has been extremely valuable. Also, as a member of ATSSA, we have the opportunity to meet with the DOT to discuss matters that otherwise could not be addressed by an individual company.First and foremost, worker safety starts with the employee. Each worker bears the ultimate responsibility to work safely and protect themselves. The worker must first and foremost be aware of their surroundings 100% of the time. The worker should be sure that they are protected by their work truck or some other form of positive protection. Quite often it is not practical or possible to hide behind a truck and still do the work, however, just as we all learned to look both ways before crossing the street, when workers are out in the open and vulnerable they need to be looking at traffic often enough to allow them time to react. At no time should they allow themselves to become complacent and place their lives in the hands of distracted, drunk, or disabled drivers. I know this is expecting a lot from the worker, but their lives are literally at risk. Secondly, it is the responsibility of the employer to provide everything possible to protect their employee. Along with high visibility clothing, crash attenuator trucks or other safety devices, the employer should not expect nor allow the employee to work in an unsafe environment where their life would be at risk. The employer should also empower employees to stop work if they find themselves in an untenable life-threatening work environment. Even with all the advancements in signing and warnings to motorists of work areas ahead, the risks to highway workers has become so much more exacerbated with the scourge of distracted drivers. That is not to say that there is no hope for the industry as there is a lot of ongoing research and development work underway to help achieve the goal of Zero Deaths on our nation’s highways. The future is bright for our industry, and it is up to all of us, workers, employers and DOT’s to make that future safe.” Since work zone safety depends on both — employees and employer – Safety Marking Inc. does everything possible to guarantee their employees’ safety. In 2020, they established a Safety Marking Academy, an internal Learning and Development site to train the workforce on the safe and effective use of equipment and machinery. The Academy supports the company’s Mission: ensuring the safest work environment using a technically advanced fleet. Staying true to its vision to be the safest and most professional pavement marking company in the industry, Safety Marking Inc. follows four pillars of ensuring roadway work zone safety:
- Implement a Traffic Control Plan
- Ensure High Worker Visibility
- Utilize Technologies to Prevent Intrusions
- Schedule Regular Mandatory Safety Meetings