8. Avoid over-use of tinted lenses. This is an often overlooked issue on a lot of jobs. The eye needs light to see properly. A common problem is wearing tinted lenses all day, every day, no matter what the sky looks like. Crews should be reminded to switch to clear lenses when they are in shaded areas, at dusk, indoors, at night, etc. Tinted lenses are usually best for long range, open field viewing such as driving on interstates. For up close work, working in a trench, tight proximity work, using power tools, etc. you should be wearing clear lenses. It’s not a fashion show, it’s a work site.
9. Night work. You’d best be holding a safety meeting at the start of every shift and eyeball the crew to make sure they are properly rested. Human alertness naturally decreases after midnight, precisely when the bars are emptying out. Ramp up the amount of high viz apparel and retro-reflective fabric. Use “blue-light” (police) presence on road jobs. Make sure your vehicle warning strobes are visible to approaching traffic. Plan for longer buffer zones, more cones or barrels, and position safety spotters (in full body Class E High Viz Apparel) well ahead of highway work zones. Spotters should have an air horn or whistle for immediate warning of errant drivers.
10. Defensive driving/parking/backing. This is a topic more suited to a day-long seminar, but here are some tips:
- Use daytime running lights on everything that moves
- Use the four-second rule for following distance
- Slow down BEFORE approaching intersections
- Avoid road rage situations – drivers need to stay cool no matter what
- Turn your head and LOOK before pulling out. A lot of times a driver will incorrectly use only their peripheral vision to detect oncoming vehicles . . . while wearing tinted lenses, on a cloudy day. DUHHH! Crash avoidance is a function of SEEING clearly.
- Avoid backing whenever possible by parking in a clear area. If a rig has to back up, assign a spotter or instruct your driver to get out and look behind the vehicle. Passengers are not tourists. They can act as spotters.
- Enforce the rule: NO TEXTING. This includes extended gabbing on the phone, checking e-mail, programming the GPS, etc. Minimize distractions.
- Set out a warning cone when the vehicle is parked. The cone identifies your rig as an attended work vehicle, subject to move. Most folks will give you extra room.
In the short time it took to write this article, a Virginia highway worker was killed in a traffic wreck, a fertilizer plant blew up in Texas and one of the kids in my office had a rear end crash. You can take the above advice to heart and act on it now, or re-read this article while waiting in the emergency room. Safety is not something you take off the shelf only when you need it. It has to be a permanent CULTURAL VALUE within your organization.
Enjoy the Summer!