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Voluntary consensus standard for work zone safety to take effect in February (1/7)

January 7, 2010
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In an effort to address transportation-related incidents, which are still the number one cause of on-the-job deaths, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) recently announced the approval of a new voluntary consensus standard, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ASSE A10.47-2009 “Work Zone Safety for Highway Construction”, according to an ASSE press release.

The A10.47-2009 standard is aimed at protecting workers from injuries and illnesses that result from working in work zones, establishing safe work practices in highway work zones, and preventing vehicle crashes in highway work zones. A work zone is an area of a highway with construction, maintenance/repair or utility work activities. The standard covers workers engaged in construction, utility work, maintenance, or repair activities on any area of a highway.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), out of a total of 5,071 workplace deaths in 2008, 2,053 people died in transportation-related incidents, 1,149 of those deaths were on highways and 322 of those workers died from being struck by a vehicle.

“OSHA has few standards that cover work zone safety,” said A10.47 Subcommittee Chair Scott Schneider, CIH. “The Federal Highway Administration is focused on safety for motorists and workers but also on reducing delays to the traveling public. Work zone safety standards also vary by state. The A10.47 standard is intended to fill the gap and to help contractors develop best practices to protect the safety and health of road construction workers.

Schneider added, “Each year, many construction workers are killed in work zones. They are run over by motorists, backed over by construction vehicles and electrocuted by overhead power lines. This standard deals with this wide range of hazards. Following it could save many of these lives.”

ANSI approved the standard on November 24, 2009, and the effective date is set for February 24, 2010. The standard will be available soon for purchase. For more information, contact ASSE customer service at 847-699-2929 or e-mail customerservice@asse.org.

ASSE serves as the secretariat for the A10 Accredited Standards Committee on construction and demolition operations. The A10 voluntary consensus standards serve as guides to contractors, labor and equipment manufacturers in the construction and demolition industry.

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