This guest post was written by Region 2 Deputy Director Tim Rose to remind UDOT employees of important safety practices.
Spring is finally here. The tulips in my yard are blooming, the trees are budding and orange barrels are starting to sprout and multiply. It’s that time of year again: construction and maintenance season.
As we begin our construction projects and start working on maintaining our road system after a long winter, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss some work zone safety tips and other general safety thoughts. All UDOT employees have a responsibility to make safety a priority—for the sake of our teams, our contractors, our families and our traveling public. Here are some important things to remember as we ramp up our construction and maintenance activities:
1) Traffic Control
- Ensure all signs and traffic control devices are clean, undamaged and being used correctly for the job at hand.
- Never stand, talk with a coworker or walk with your back to oncoming traffic. Keep your eyes on oncoming traffic at all times. Whenever possible, use a spotter or second set of eyes to watch your back.
- Make sure that your traffic control is set up correctly.
2) Working in Trenches
- Make sure trench boxes are used when needed and that the contractor or your team provides a proper means of ingress and egress.
3) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Make sure you, your coworkers and contractors wear the proper PPE for the job or task at hand.
- While working with hand or power tools, make sure the tools are in proper working order and that all guards/safety features are attached and functioning.
- Make sure you are using the tools in the manner intended and that you wear the required face shields, eye protection, hearing protection, etc.
4) Entering and Exiting Vehicles
- When getting in and out of your vehicle within a work zone, or on the open road, make sure your vehicle is parked in a safe location, out of the way of contractor equipment and active areas of work.
- Check your mirrors and make sure that you are clear of oncoming traffic before you open the door to exit the vehicle.
- Make sure you have good footing before you step out of the vehicle. Look for slick surfaces and loose ground.
5) Equipment and Vehicle Inspection
- Inspect all equipment before use to make sure it is in good condition and working order prior to use. Repair the equipment before use if necessary.
- Make sure you conduct your pre-trip inspections each time you start your shift. This applies to everyone and all vehicles, from motor pool cars and assigned pickup trucks to one-tons and ten-wheelers.
- Report vehicle maintenance issues or warning lights to your regional equipment shop or maintenance area supervisor so that small issues don’t become major problems.
- Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day and think about the things that could go wrong or dangerous situations that may occur during your shift. Also consider how to mitigate those risks.
- During your shift, always think about what you can do to improve safe work practices for yourself and your team.
- At the end of each day, ask yourself what you are going to do tomorrow that will enhance a safe work environment for all of us.
If you ever have a question about how to handle any safety-related situation, please call your region safety manager immediately. They are always available and happy to assist you with any questions or concerns. And as always, wear your seat belts, your orange and your protective gear. Work safely and have a great summer.