Nightime Paving Jobs Offer Unique Hazards For Workers
Working hours for construction projects are usually determined at the time the construction projects are designed. There are some projects that have certain phases that can only be completed at night. Many major pavement resurfacing jobs are performed at night when traffic is low, making it easier for the ground crew to control traffic and allowing better production in high traffic areas.
There are also many hazards associated with nighttime paving. Night work lowers productivity due to having to work under limited lighting and can extend the time and cost of a project. Keep in mind that Lower traffic flow also has its dangers at night. Lower traffic flow allows motorists to travel faster through work zones. Less congestion may sound good, but slower traffic presents less of a hazard. Driver fatigue and impairment also increases at night posing a large risk to ground crew. Night work is also very costly. In most cases, night work almost doubles the cost of the project.
Good communication: Good communication is important on any paving job, but is even more important on night jobs. Paving jobs are very busy. There is always a steady flow of trucks delivering hot asphalt to the paver. During the day a nod of the head or a wave of the hand may suffice as an all clear, but at night can be hard to understand. A signaling system such as flags or light wand signaling that is clearly understood by all crew members will eliminate accidental GO signals. Make sure to always stand clear of the pavers hopper when the trucks are transferring the hot asphalt to the paver.
Increase visibility: When working at night, make sure that the jobsite is well lit. Light towers are commonly used on paving jobs to achieve this. In addition to lighting, the use of radio frequency identification tags and tag readers can warn the equipment operator if a crew member gets too close to the machine.
Reduce fatigue: Make sure the whole crew is well rested and alert. Being awake and alert goes a long way toward preventing accidents.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
- Watch for any machine malfunctions. If any malfunctions are detected, shut the machine down and correct them immediately.
- Keep all personnel clear of the pavers auger at all times and make sure all auger and screed extension guards are installed properly.
- Be observant to other machines on the job including, rollers, sweepers, water trucks, etc.
- Know and obey all flaggers and ground personnel and understand signs and signals.
- Never remove material from the auger or hopper while the machine is running.
- Never jump on or off the machine.
- Paver operator- Stay in the operator seat at all times.
- Always wear proper safety equipment.
- Report any unsafe conditions to the supervisors immediately.
Things happen fast on paving jobs. Always stay alert and have the ability to react quickly to in any emergency. Be sure that all employees are trained in first-aid procedures.