8 Ways to Protect Your Jobsites

Distracted Driving Awareness Month is coming up soon—and once again I am pondering how safe are our roads, and no surprise here, our roads aren’t that safe and that means we have to worry about the safety of our jobsites.
According to a new report from the GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Assn.), states were asked to report pedestrian fatalities for the first six months of 2018. The numbers show that 6,227 pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2018, which is the highest number in nearly three decades. The GHSA projects a 4% increase from 2017, when 5,977 people lost their lives.
It’s a shame too because pedestrians are projected to account for 16% of all traffic deaths in 2018, compared to 12% in 2008.
Why have we seen this increase? Well, for one, the report does show that walking in general has increased. And as a result, more Americans are walking to work, which means there is a greater chance for pedestrian-related accidents. Sadly, I can’t help but make the correlation—and I know many of you are too—that the construction industry has seen greater distraction from pedestrians and motorists, which means more injuries or deaths on jobsites.
It seems more often than not pedestrians and drivers are in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of the biggest trends in the past 10 years is the rise in unsafe driving behaviors. This invariably can include everything from speeding to distracted driving. And I would suspect with everyone looking at their devices these days we have a lot more distracted walking. And as a result, people are getting injured as a result of just not paying attention to what is happening around them. Frankly that’s just a sad commentary.
And as we all know, unexpected construction jobsite injuries can result in lost wages, stress, pain, and suffering, and jobsites being shut down, and even some lost wages for subs. While many of us might know what we need to do on the jobsite, perhaps it’s time for a quick refresher. If we haven’t already it’s time to just even assess how we all act when we drive and walk.
According to the GHSA, it isn’t all doom and gloom. It presents strategies for how to reduce pedestrian and motor vehicle crashes including new approaches to infrastructure, education, and enforcement. All three are needed to help do something to turn these numbers around.
I would add we also need to understand the unique needs of the construction industry. As we have reported time and time again, there are a number of things a construction company can do to combat distracted driving including recognizing the risks and making sure each site is doing all it can to make sure drivers and pedestrians are aware as much as possible.
In fact, here are 8 best practices that all jobsites should adhere to protect themselves and motorists and pedestrians:
  • Post clear and visible warning jobsite signage
  • Stake fencing around the construction jobsite
  • Equip colorful vests and hardhats at all times
  • Maintain all machinery inside of the jobsite
  • Ready personnel to perform traffic coordination
  • Place traffic cones when appropriate
  • Affix scaffolds, fences, and other equipment, and tools
  • Secure falling debris
Here’s some good news. The GHSA says 23 states saw declines in pedestrian fatalities for the first half of 2018 compared to 2017, with six states (Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin) reporting double-digit declines, and three (Iowa, New Hampshire, and Utah) reporting consecutive years of declines. My recommendation? Take a closer look at what is happening in these states in order to make the other states a little bit safer.
Some of the states are doing unique efforts including targeted law enforcement, outreach in high-risk areas, pedestrian safety assessments and road safety audits, support for engineering efforts, and adoption of policies.
We can make our roads safer. We just need to determine how to build the infrastructure, how to educate the public, and how to put the right enforcement in place. Sometimes it really does take a village to make change and to make our communities safer.