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Safety Marking Discusses the Essential Steps to Creating Safer Roadway Work Zones

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.

The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), is an international trade association founded to advance road way safety.

Douglas Dolinar, Director At-Large of ATSSA shares: 

“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:

  1. Implement a Traffic Control Plan

Pavement marking can disrupt traffic flow, so creating a proactive traffic control plan and implementing it at the worksite supports a safer roadway around the work zone. A traffic control plan addresses these four critical areas: the advance warning area, the transition area, the activity area, and the termination area. Each area is designed to alert oncoming drivers and allow traffic to flow safely through areas under construction.

  1. Ensure High Worker Visibility 

The Federal Highway Administration recorded 799 work zone fatalities in 2017 in the United States. Such deaths are often caused by distracted driving, driving at high speeds, or lack of worker visibility. Requiring employees in the work zone to wear apparel that meets industry performance standards and using the required number of flaggers both contribute to a safer overall environment. Utilizing additional safety lighting, directional message boards, and radar notifications speed boards are essential to increasing worker visibility and motorist awareness.

  1. Utilize Technologies to Prevent Intrusions

Prevention is critical in ensuring work zone safety. Keeping GPS and dash cameras on company vehicles and communication devices available to every worker ensures that the safety protections are being followed. Unfortunately, not all workplace intrusions can be prevented, so it is crucial to prepare for an emergency with today’s latest and most helpful technologies. A company can offer workers assistance when an intrusion occurs by implementing a work zone intrusion alert technology onto a job site. Such technology can alert employees working on the project site when a work zone intrusion takes place. 

  1. Schedule Regular Mandatory Safety Meetings

Guaranteed safety comes with continuous practice. To keep all workers and management up to date with safety procedures, Safety Marking Inc. provides weekly Toolbox Safety Meetings to provide updated safety goals and to address concerns related to accident prevention. Safety Marking requires all employees to be compliant with all OSHA and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations. Additionally, all road workers must complete OSHA Ten-hour Construction Training. SMC’s overall safety goal is zero accidents and injuries. 

PJ Clyne, Safety Director at Safety Marking Inc., shares, “Our goal at Safety Marking Inc. is to provide the best service and product, in the safest manner to make the roadways and airports safe for the traveling public. This can be a dangerous work environment, which makes training and safety a fundamental base for our crews in the work zone. Communication and technology help Safety Marking to increase safety in the work zone. From setting up proper traffic control to providing a safe work zone, GPS on the fleet, Dash Cams in every truck, to maximizing lighting, utilizing Radar speed boards on our attenuator trucks, using Message Boards on our attenuator trucks, and utilizing personal communication devices to stay in touch with each other in the work zone, Safety Marking is always working to innovate and make our work zones safer for our employees and the motoring public.”

About Safety Marking Inc. Safety Marking Inc. is a family-owned business founded by Mark Kelly in 1973 to provide pavement marking services in Fairfield County, CT. Safety Marking Inc. is devoted to consistently exceeding customer and employee expectations through innovation, accountability, integrity, and teamwork. It has long-standing partnerships with the local Wakeman Boy’s and Girl’s Club and the Thomas Merton Center to encourage healthy citizenship and support those in need.

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