Employers

As an employer overseeing work in construction zones on public roadways, ensuring the safety of your workers and the general public is paramount. Construction work zones present unique hazards that require careful planning, communication, and oversight to mitigate risks effectively.

Ensuring Safety In Construction Work Zones: A Guide For Employers

As an employer overseeing work in construction zones on public roadways in Newfoundland and Labrador, prioritizing the safety of your workers and the general public is paramount. Construction work zones present unique hazards that require careful planning, communication, and compliance with local regulations to mitigate risks effectively. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to ensure the safety of your workers and the public while undertaking work in construction zones in Newfoundland and Labrador:

Familiarize yourself with the NL OHS Act and Regulations, as well as the Traffic Control Manual set forth by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador regarding construction work zones and occupational health and safety. Ensure that your work practices comply with all applicable laws and standards to maintain a safe work environment. 

Traffic control plans are essential for managing traffic flow and ensuring the safety of both workers and motorists in construction work zones. When developing traffic control plans:

  • Consider the unique characteristics of Newfoundland and Labrador roadways, including weather conditions, hills, curves in the roads, and traffic patterns.
  • Designate appropriate traffic control measures, such as signage, barriers, cones, and traffic control persons, to guide motorists safely through the work zone.
  • Ensure that traffic control plans are compliant with local regulations and adequately address the specific hazards and risks present in the work area.

Before beginning work in a construction zone, conduct thorough hazard assessments to identify and address potential risks. This includes:

  • Identifying hazards such as uneven ground, overhead obstructions, power lines and proximity to moving traffic.
  • Assessing potential risks to workers and the public, including the risk of being struck by vehicles, exposure to hazardous materials, and the potential for falling or flying debris.
  • Implementing control measures to mitigate identified hazards, such as providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), installing barriers or guardrails, and implementing safe work practices.

Effective communication is crucial for maintaining safety in construction work zones. Establish clear communication protocols to ensure that:

  • Workers are informed of traffic control plans, hazard assessments, and other safety procedures before beginning work.
  • Workers have access to communication devices, such as two-way radios or mobile phones, to communicate with supervisors, traffic control persons, and other workers.
  • Workers understand how to respond to emergencies or unexpected hazards, including procedures for contacting emergency services and implementing evacuation plans.

A written emergency response plan is critical for ensuring the prompt response to any emergency situation that might occur while working . An emergency plan should:

  • Include procedures for responding to incidents such as accidents, medical emergencies, hazardous material spills, and severe weather events.
  • Outline roles and responsibilities, communication protocols, evacuation procedures, and methods for contacting emergency services.
  • Address coordination with local authorities and emergency responders, as well as provisions for providing first aid and ensuring the safety of workers and the general public.
  • Detail a plan to ensure emergency vehicles can access the work zone, in a safe and timely manner.

Regular training and drills to familiarize workers with the emergency plan are also essential for effective implementation.

Ensure that the all workers are in possession of training appropriate to their job and in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations of Newfoundland and Labrador.  Common training would include:

  • Traffic Control Person (TCP) Level 1 – For all individuals who will be performing duties as a traffic control person.
  • Traffic Control Person (TCP) Level 2 – For all individuals responsible for developing traffic control plans and overseeing traffic control work.
  • Power Line Hazard Training – For all individuals operating mobile equipment that has the potential to come in contact with, or encroach on energized power lines.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and WorkplaceNL’s Traffic Control Person Training Certification Standard, the training requirements for traffic control persons (TCPs) and traffic control supervisors (TCSs) are as follows:

  1. Traffic Control Person (TCP) Level 1 Training:
    • TCPs are individuals responsible for controlling vehicular and pedestrian traffic in construction zones or other work areas where traffic control measures are necessary.
    • The TCP Level 1 training program covers essential topics such as traffic control plans, traffic control devices, hand signaling, communication techniques, and safety procedures.
    • WorkplaceNL’s Traffic Control Person Training Certification Standard outlines the minimum requirements for TCP training programs, including course content, duration, and assessment criteria.
    • TCP training programs must be delivered by qualified trainers or training providers approved by WorkplaceNL.
  2. Traffic Control Supervisor (TCS) Training:
    • TCSs are individuals responsible for supervising traffic control activities and ensuring compliance with traffic control plans and regulations.
    • The TCP Level 2 training program for TCSs builds upon the knowledge and skills acquired in TCP Level 1 training and includes additional topics such as traffic management principles, regulatory requirements, hazard identification, and incident response.
    • TCP Level 2 training programs must meet the requirements outlined in WorkplaceNL’s Traffic Control Person Training Certification Standard, including course content, duration, and assessment criteria.
    • TCP Level 2 training programs must be delivered by qualified trainers or training providers approved by WorkplaceNL.
  3. Certification Requirements:
    • Upon successful completion of the TCP Level 1 or 2 or training program, individuals must pass a written or practical assessment to demonstrate their understanding of the course material and competency in performing traffic control duties.
    • WorkplaceNL issues certification to individuals who meet the training and assessment requirements for TCP Level 1 and TCP Level 2.
    • For anyone performing Traffic Control Person duties, their TCP Level 1 Certification must be renewed every three years, as specified by WorkplaceNL.

Overall, the training requirements for TCPs and TCSs in Newfoundland and Labrador aim to ensure that individuals responsible for traffic control activities possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and competencies to perform their duties safely and effectively in accordance with occupational health and safety regulations and industry standards.

Regular inspections are critical for identifying potential safety hazards and ensuring that safety protocols are being followed. Conduct inspections:

  • Regularly inspect the work site and traffic control measures to ensure compliance with established safety standards and regulations.
  • Address any identified hazards or deficiencies promptly and implement corrective actions to mitigate risks.
  • Encourage workers to report safety concerns or near misses and take appropriate measures to address these issues.

Employer Resources

Traffic Control Manual 2018

TitleLink
Maintaining & Managing Signs In A Construction Zone – Toolbox Talk
Move Over Law – Toolbox Talk
Traffic Control – Toolbox Talk
Driving Through A Construction Zone – Toolbox Talk
Zipper Merge – Toolbox Talk
Distracted Driving Toolbox Talk
NL 511 Traveler Information System – Infosheet
Daily Traffic Control and Signage Log
Sample Traffic Control Plan Template
Traffic Control Procedure

Ensuring the safety of workers and the general public in construction work zones in Newfoundland and Labrador requires careful planning, communication, and compliance with local regulations. By understanding local regulations, developing traffic control plans, conducting hazard assessments, establishing communication protocols, and conducting regular inspections, employers can create a safe and secure work environment for everyone involved. Prioritizing safety not only protects workers and the public from harm but also helps prevent accidents, delays, and disruptions in construction projects.

Disclaimer: The materials above are provided to assist organizations with the development of their Occupational Health and Safety Program.  Companies should review and update materials to reflect their unique operations. The information presented is intended for general use and may not apply to every circumstance. It is not a definitive guide to government regulations and does not relieve persons using this information from their responsibilities under applicable legislation. The NLCSA does not guarantee the accuracy of, nor assume liability for, the information presented here.