8 Lifesaving Ways to Increase Work Zone Worker Visibility

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This National Work Zone Awareness Week, TAPCO continues to be committed to creating safer work zones for all.

Over 750 people lost their lives in work zones in 2018 — and 124 of them were workers. An additional 20,000 workers are injured each year while on the job, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Work zone workers are the lifeblood of our nation’s roadways, so we owe it to them to take every possible measure to ensure their safety every day of the year. By alerting drivers of work zones and guiding them through unfamiliar road configurations, highly visible warning products save lives.

Most products fall into one of eight categories, which we’ve broken down below so you can ensure you’re maximizing work zone safety before disaster strikes.

Use the right barricades

Barricades are standard fare for work zones because they form clear barriers around sites, but not all are created equal. Look for barricades like the PSS LaneGard 3® Folding Type III Barricade that are MASH-tested, extremely portable and quick to set up and tear down.

In addition, the PSS barricade is available in multiple lengths and, once it’s assembled, it’s always assembled.

Protect Workers Directing Traffic

Bring attention to workers directing traffic near work zones and provide clear instructions to drivers with an MUTCD-compliant, LED-enhanced sign, like the STOP/SLOW BlinkerPaddle® Flashing LED Paddle.

Consider pairing each flashing LED sign with a standing base – such as the PSS StandGard Portable Standing Base – to reduce workers’ tendency to drift from their stationary positions. Designed to be sturdy and comfortable, high-quality standing bases also insulate workers from excessive temperatures and fatigue.

Leverage intrusion alarms

When placed in a work zone and hit by an intruding vehicle, intrusion alarms sound a CO2-powered, 125-decibel horn to notify both drivers and work zone workers. Ideal for low-visibility work sites, these devices add lifesaving seconds to workers’ reaction times.

Plus, they can be mounted on barricades, cones, drums, delineators, A-frames and more, providing much-needed versatility.

Take advantage of signage

Signs denoting the start and end of work zones – and their corresponding speed limit changes – continue to be a key item to have in your work zone safety toolbelt to convey important information. Trailer-mounted radar feedback signs, in particular, are popular in work zones because they increase compliance with new speed limits. Maximize mobility by using solar-powered signs.

Three-line solar message signs with ultra-bright LEDs, easy programming and low power consumption are also key because they grab drivers’ attention and can easily provide changing updates. Using signs where appropriate eliminates driver confusion.

Check out our popular 2020 MUTCD Signs Poster >

Invest in truck-mounted attenuators (TMAs)

Protect both workers and drivers with a MASH-tested TMA, which absorbs the kinetic energy of vehicles that crash into it to minimize damage and danger.

The right TMA will have an aluminum-welded profile, many internal blades and be modular and repairable.

Don’t overlook sand barrels

Another classic work zone safety method, sand barrels can mean the difference between a deadly collision and a saved life. UV-stabilized barrels that are blow-molded from high-molecular, high-density polyethylene plastic like the PSS CrashGard® Sand Barrel are especially built to last.

Make sure your sand barrel of choice accommodates all weight requirements – 200, 400, 700, 1400 and 2100 pounds – like the PSS barrel does and is easy to store and transport.

Always use the correct apparel

High-visibility safety apparel, such as an LED safety vest, is any clothing item that meets the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 107-2004 Class 2 or 3 standard. Such apparel will always be crucial for workers, especially in low-light conditions, because it makes them much more visible to every passing driver.

In case you need a refresher, WorkZoneSafety.Org published a great outline of each apparel class.

Utilize well-placed portable traffic light systems

One of the best ways to keep workers safe is to control the flow of traffic. A portable traffic light system with durable and robust components is perfect for situations where interrupting traffic is unavoidable and setup needs to be quick.

Look for one with radio communication capabilities a mile away and continuous operation for 30 days without sunlight.

There’s nothing more important than protecting lives, and the right work zone safety products do just that. Don’t wait to do your research, make room in your budget and get started with a quote.

Click here to request a quote now >

Aleischa Kronshagen

TAPCO | Product Manager

With several years of experience in the traffic safety industry, Aleischa manages TAPCO's dynamic curve warning solution product line and most other specialty solution product lines, including emergency vehicle, icy road and intersection conflict.

Previously, she was a member of TAPCO's customer service team, which fostered a passion for process and data analysis, as well as creative problem solving.

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