5 Ways to Improve Employee Safety When Working in Construction Zones

A set of portable restrooms sitting at a construction site

Safety should always be your first priority, especially when operating an industrial vacuum truck. There is always a certain level of risk associated with handling heavy machinery, but that risk grows exponentially when in a construction environment. Did you know that of the 156 pedestrian fatalities that occur in work zones, 32% are workers? Also, were you aware that in 2021, a crash occurred in a work zone a startling 279 times each day? Those are some eye opening numbers! 

Industrial vacuum trucks have many uses in construction areas, including servicing portable restrooms, assisting with any liquid clean up, and more! When operating in a construction zone, it’s extremely important to keep aware of your surroundings and look after your employees. Here at FlowMark, we have a few tips that could help you. Keep reading to learn more!


Tip #1: Plan in advance.

One of the first things you should do prior to entering a construction site is knowing the lay of the land. Note where you will be operating as well as other heavy machinery will be throughout the day. Double check that all the appropriate safety measures are in place, including traffic cones, lane change indicators, warning signs, and even pavement markings. Ensure that you have enough space for your industrial vacuum truck and that you’ll be able to adequately do your job. 

Also, each job is different and has different types of safety precautions you should take. For example, are you on a heavily trafficked interstate or are you working near a rural road? This will help you to know what level of traffic to anticipate, as well as feel better prepared in the face of inclement weather. Also, just because you are in a less populated area doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down. Accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. 


Tip #2: Increase your visibility.

Another great way to prevent an accident is to make sure that both the equipment and its operator are visible, even from a distance. This is especially important when working at night or when it’s rainy, foggy, or overcast. High visibility clothing, vests, and hard hats are all recommended. Sure, not everyone is going to look good in hazard orange or neon green, but they’ll definitely be safer!

As far as equipment goes, be sure to outfit your industrial vacuum truck with reflective tape, strobe lights, and bright light bulbs for hazard lights and turn signals. When performing your routine maintenance inspection, be sure to include double checking to ensure all of the lights are working and functioning properly. 


Tip #3: Teach your employees to stay focused.

It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen and change someone’s life. Train your employees to stay focused and vigilant while on the job site. By minimizing distractions, one can be more aware of changes, including those that could threaten one’s safety or well being. When working near a roadway, this becomes doubly important. 

Traffic concerns aren’t the only ones to look out for, however. Weather conditions, such as fog, high wind, rain, and sleet can all be responsible for causing accidents as well. Teach your employees to look out for themselves as well as for each other. It takes multiple sets of eyes to cover all the necessary bases, including when operating an industrial vacuum truck

A line of orange safety cones help to direct traffic in a construction zone

Tip #4: Schedule routine training.

Training your employees and making sure they are prepared in the face of various hazardous scenarios is the best preventive measure you could take as an employer. Properly onboard new employees with the necessary training to be able to safely operate an industrial vacuum truck. Make sure they are aware of risks when working in all types of environments, including construction zones

Also, host annual training sessions to go over these topics. Performing routine risk assessments is also strongly recommended, as you never know when a new issue might crop up. Handling these things as they appear is vital and will work to keep your whole crew safer. Also, curate a work environment that encourages employees to speak up if they are concerned about unsafe behaviors and make sure they feel comfortable asking questions along the way. 


Tip #5: Put an emphasis on communication and documentation.

Once again, employees need to be able to talk to each other when in a construction zone. More often than not, this environment is normally very noisy. Between the sounds from the traffic on the road and the noise coming from equipment, it can be tough to hear. Make sure that all employees are equipped with remote communication equipment, such as walkie-talkies. Implementing the use of hand signals is great too, especially when you need to communicate short commands quickly, such as ‘stop’ or ‘go’. 

Documentation is another factor that every employee should know. Paperwork isn’t just reserved for making notes after a crisis, though that is important too. Have employees make notes even when a job went safely and denote what they did or didn’t do. These can be handy in future trainings.


A Safer Work Environment

Striving for a safer work environment should be at the very top of every employer’s priority list. Regardless of if you operate an industrial vacuum truck or a jackhammer, a construction site can be a dangerous spot. Keeping vigilant and having the appropriate training can go a long way, including meaning the difference between life and death. Increase the visibility of both the worker and their equipment, especially at night or during inclement weather.


Purchase From FlowMark

Another way to ensure that your employees are safe is to make sure they are using the best equipment available on the market! Outfit your fleet with an industrial vacuum truck from FlowMark. All of our machines are American-made right here in Kansas City and are built to last. Thanks to our partnership with KC Tank, you know that you are getting the best of the best. Contact our office today for a free quote and learn more about the FlowMark difference!