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An active work zone poses a risk to nearby civilians if the area is improperly marked and maintained. Workers involved in construction projects, excavations and welding projects must follow strict guidelines set by OSHA to keep a public site safe, and any failure to do so may result in injuries, death or lawsuits.
Notify the Public
Regardless of the project’s size, the public should be advised of any upcoming work zones in the area. Local businesses and residents can be notified in the following ways:
- Notices sent via mail
- Email notifications
- Personal notifications
- Electronic signs
Sending notices in the mail and personal visits are the most effective methods for alerting the nearby population of an upcoming construction zone. Emails are helpful for notifying local companies but are unlikely to help in residential neighborhoods. Electronic signs with a message about forthcoming construction are useful in high traffic areas but may not help disabled residents. To reach the most people, contractors can use each of the techniques in the proper locations.
Implement Safety Measures Before Beginning Work
Barricade signs, fencing, caution tape and other safety features should be installed before the project starts. Setting up a safe work zone before construction begins gives the public time to get used to the change. It also gives managers an idea of how civilians will react to the work zone. For instance, if a barricade is set up in front of a busy commercial building, a supervisor may notice people having difficulty navigating around the barrier. The site may need to be widened or reduced to accommodate civilian traffic. A supervisor may need to install a guided walking path to funnel the traffic away from the work zone if large numbers of people appear to crowd around the area when leaving work.Working around a public area can be challenging, but with sufficient notifications, adequate safety measures and constant supervision, work crews can finish the job and maintain public safety.Click To Tweet
Install Barricades With Clear Warnings
A barricade by itself may keep some people out, but a safe work zone must employ multiple safety measures to be effective. When constructing a barrier, the fence must be high enough to prevent someone from easily stepping over it. The barricade signs should be professionally designed with clear, bright lettering that displays the reason for the work zone. If the nearby population consists of residents who speak other languages, it may be appropriate to include bilingual warnings or instructions. Also, the barricade signs should be properly attached so that a heavy rainstorm cannot dislodge them.
Inspect the Site Thoroughly
Before starting work each day, supervisors and workers should inspect the work zone for evidence of tampering or vandalism. If someone enters the work zone after hours, managers may have to modify the barricade to make it more secure. Mischievous teenagers or intoxicated bar patrons can damage the site and cause work delays. Additional warning signs or a wireless security camera may be warranted if the work zone is frequently disturbed.
Working around a public area can be challenging, but with sufficient notifications, adequate safety measures and constant supervision, work crews can finish the job and maintain public safety.