Working In Traffic: Do You Know the Dangers? (Part 1 of 2)

Working in traffic is a dangerous job, and it is easy for workers and drivers to become confused and frustrated as they navigate through construction zones. In this two-part blog series, I share ways to prevent, or even eliminate, work zone injuries and fatalities with a strong focus on safety.

Summer is great! Warm weather, the smell of food cooking on the grill, the sound of kids outside enjoying the day with their friends, and, of course, the best sight of all: orange barrels.

Yes, road construction can be frustrating, especially when you are not expecting it. But keep in mind that it is also frustrating for those who are building the roads and bridges that we depend on. And not only that – it is also very dangerous. There were 609 fatalities in construction and maintenance work zones in 2012.

Temporary traffic control devices (TTCDs), like orange barrels, cones, barricades and signs, may not be your favorite summer sight, but they’re an important indication of a work zone. Drivers need to use extra caution as they approach these zones, and employers need to take the proper safety measures to keep employees safe in these areas.

How do you prepare for the unique dangers of working in traffic?

1. Assess the Hazards. Workers and motorists face different dangers. Workers can be struck by a vehicle or construction equipment, fall and/or encounter frustrated, speeding motorists. Motorists deal with entering buffer or work space as TTCDs are set up or removed, merging due to lane closures, and/or traffic congestion. Determine the risks at your worksite.

2. Select Proper Controls. There are a number of important precautions to prevent work zone injuries. Consider how the following controls may apply to the hazards at your worksite and keep your employees safe:

  • TTCDs
  • High-visibility garments
  • Work from a platform
  • Maintain visual and/or audio communication
  • Develop a procedure for motorist interactions
  • Training and documentation

Check back next week, when I dive into details for these six important safety precautions.

For more information on keeping your employees safe while working in traffic:

-Pat O’Brien


Pat has broad experience working with contractors, supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants and the hospitality industry. He is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), holds the Associate of Risk Management (ARM) designation, Associate of Underwriting (AU) designation, and is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

Latest Articles

How Much Insurance Do You Need for Your Business?

When business owners look to purchase business insurance, they often ask, “how much insurance do I...

What To Know About Baffle Filters in Your Commercial Kitchen

Did you know that grease-producing kitchen cooking appliances must have UL-listed baffle filters...

Seven Essential Questions to Ask An Insurance Agent

Every industry comes with its own unique set of challenges when it comes to insurance, and the...

Five Examples of How to Start a Continuing Education Program

Continuing education (CE) comes in many different forms, depending on the industry. But one thing...

5 Meaningful Benefits to Attract Quality Employees

It’s no secret that the role benefits play in attracting quality employees is growing. Benefits...


Restaurants and bars are often targets for robbery, burglary and theft. These businesses can ...

Why You Should Inspect Your Restaurant’s Seating

 Ensuring your restaurant seating is solid and safe is an often overlooked aspect of owning a...

Five of the Most Common Workplace Injuries for Young Workers

Young or newly hired employees are getting injured more often than older, more experienced...

How to File an Insurance Claim & What to Expect

In the event that somebody is injured or property gets damaged, it is of utmost importance to...

4 Ways to Improve Remote Offices

Remote work, also known as ‘work from home’ or telecommuting, has become increasingly...

Stay up to date with industry updates by subscribing to the Society Insurance blog!