Working Around Traffic

working around traffic, we often think of only the flagger. However, the flagger is not the only one affected by traffic.  Many times work zones are located within 2 to 3 feet of live traffic.  If a flagger is present, they may be able to give warning of approaching hazards, but if no flaggers are used, then everyone on-site must stay alert.

Steps to Protecting Yourself

  • Wear high visibility clothing.  Class II at a minimum should be worn while working next to road traffic. 
  • At hours of darkness, ½ hour after sunrise and ½ hour before sunset, high visibility trousers with retro-reflective banding should be worn. 
  • Make sure that your high visibility garment is in good shape and has good retro-reflectivity. 
  • Be watchful of your fellow workers.  For example, if you see a worker backing into traffic, stop them. Or, if you see a car veering, alert the worker.  Distracted drivers are causing more and more accidents.
  • Get the drivers attention by eye contact before crossing in front of them, or in the case of machinery behind them.  Heavy machinery has poor visibility for the operator and can change direction quickly.
  • If there are any near misses, they need to immediately be brought to the attention of the supervisor.  Near miss reporting can prevent future accidents.

Presenter Tips

  • Pre-read the Tool Box Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Tool Box Talk relevant to your jobsite.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion. Funding and support for this project has been provided by the State of Washington, Department of Labor & Industries.

Questions for discussion:

  • Have you ever had a close call with traffic?
  • When do you think drivers are most distracted?