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Safety Tips - Working Near Roadways

Working Near Roadways

Article provided by: National Association of Landscape Professionals

The resources below can help managers and crew members significantly reduce injury risks when working near roadways.  Failure to operate equipment safety can result in cuts, lacerations and punctures which OSHA sites as the second leading injury type in the landscape and horticultural industry. Proper safety training is necessary to reduce the risk of injury.

Dos and Dont's

  • Choose the proper temporary-traffic-control devices for each situation. There is not a “one-size-fits-all” option. Some areas require barricades while orange cones could work in others. Make sure the devices and the methods in which you use them convey clear, concise messages.
  • Wear the PPE your company provides. When you work near roadways, this should include a hard hat, eye protection and a high-visibility, reflective vest made of fluorescent orange, yellow or yellow-green material. Hearing protection and other PPE could be required, depending on your work tasks.
  • Scout the work area for hazards such as slippery slopes and objects that could become projectiles. You should do this before any job, but it’s particularly important when working near roadways since flying debris could strike vehicles and slippery slopes could result in you or the equipment you’re using moving into traffic paths.
  • Walk facing oncoming traffic and pay close attention to your work surroundings. Do this when serving as a flagger, setting traffic-control devices and anytime you work near a roadway.
  • Watch for out-of-control vehicles.  Distracted driver is often a cause of accidents.
  • Avoid standing in a roadway if you can complete a task without doing so. When working alongside a road, stay back as far as possible from the roadway’s edge.
  • Don’t turn your back to oncoming traffic. Since equipment noise and the hearing protection you might be wearing could prevent you from hearing approaching vehicles, always face oncoming traffic. If you must stand in the road (to clear leaves, debris, etc.) and vehicles are approaching around a curve or motorists’ visibility is otherwise compromised, have a co-worker stand where he/she can see oncoming traffic and alert you to move.
  • Never angle equipment such as line trimmers and lawn mowers so they shoot material toward traffic.
  • Avoid placing tools or equipment on the ground near traffic lanes.