We’re excited to introduce our guest blogger Kelly Friel from industrial safety equipment retailer Zoro!
Here, Kelly gives us her guide to road worker safety for those working at night.
UK roads are some of the most dangerous environments for workers due to busy traffic conditions and work-related risks. Usually, work is carried out at night when the roads are less busy, but when it’s dark, visibility is low, so precautions still need to be taken. Road workers need to invest in efficient PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to keep themselves safe. In this article, I’ll be outlining just some of the essential PPE for road workers when carrying out maintenance and repairs at night.
Traffic management for night-time work
Being struck by a moving vehicle was the second most common cause for workplace fatalities between 2017–2018, according to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive. These numbers also show that the construction sector accounts for the highest number of workplace fatalities each year. Although roads are usually less busy at night, low visibility means drivers may not see the work being carried out and could collide with the site.
To lower this risk, project supervisors should adopt traffic management solutions, even when working at night. These include road signs to indicate road closures and diversions, temporary traffic lights, stop and go signs, fences and traffic cones. Nationwide Traffic Solutions offers a free site survey, risk assessment and method statement to ensure that you have the full amount of road safety management equipment for the job.
Essential PPE for road workers
Project supervisors should always conduct a risk assessment before any work is carried out, highlighting what PPE will be needed for the job. Depending on the tasks that individuals are doing, some safety equipment will be more of a priority, but all workers should have:
- Head torches when operating at night so they can see exactly what they’re doing and can be seen by colleagues and drivers.
- High visibility clothing with reflective striping, which is required by law to ensure individuals can be seen. When working on roads, full-body high visibility clothing will be needed. You should check the label of the garment to ensure it complies with the EU and UK specification BS EN 471 for hi-vis clothing.
- Floodlights to light the site so all workers can see clearly and to minimise safety risks associated with low visibility.
- Head protection such as a hard hat to minimise damage if hit by flying debris.
- Hand protection, including thick gloves and barrier creams when conditions are damp, or workers are using substances that may irritate or harm skin.
- Foot protection, like steel toe cap boots.
- Eye protection, such as goggles, to prevent debris entering the eyes.
If working from a height, they should be equipped with a safety harness or fall protection lanyard to minimise risk. In the winter, or on particularly cold nights, workers should also dress in thermal clothing and coveralls to keep warm.
PPE responsibilities for road workers
Before working on roads, all individuals should be fully trained in operating the necessary equipment safely, as well as how to check for hazards and stay visible and safe on-site. Workers should also be aware of how to redirect traffic around the area they’re operating in to keep themselves and drivers safe.
Workers should only use equipment as they have been instructed to do so to avoid causing harm to themselves and others. Equipment and clothing should be checked regularly for damage and any faults should be repaired before use.
These PPE requirements are essential for keeping road workers safe, especially when operating at night. By wearing protective clothing, adopting traffic management systems, and keeping up with the responsibilities associated with this kind of work, the tasks can be completed safely, without causing any harm to workers or drivers.