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Good practices for managing safety and traffic flow during road construction

Ensuring human safety is top priority in the implementation of construction projects.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in conjunction with its implementing agencies UNRA, KCCA, closely cooperate to conduct multifaceted safety management activities such as safety awareness campaigns, safety seminars to ensure not only workplace safety practices but also protection of human life in the recipient country.

While road construction and maintenance works are essential for maintaining and improving the mobility and safety of all road users, road works are associated with high-risk areas because they have many or long work fronts, with frequent contact by third party, such as vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users, etc., which makes the process of safety and traffic flow management very difficult.

Therefore, one needs to stay safe around construction sites and must adhere to the construction safety guidelines and practices to avoid potential accidents, for both construction workers and other road users.

To this effect, undertaking safety awareness campaigns is emphasized on all JICA infrastructure projects to ensure public safety as well as that of the workers and the environment, and, to check the projects’ compliance with JICA’s guidance for management of safety for construction works.

The aim of this guidance is to achieve zero occupational accidents and public accidents on projects supported by JICA.

Some of the best safety practices observed during road construction works are highlighted as follows:

Provision of designated pedestrian walkways

Alternative pathways for pedestrians must be provided to help minimize disruptions of traffic flow and maximize the safety for road users and on-site- personnel. Walking on a carriageway alongside vehicles poses risk of accidents. It is important for road users to be alert of the ongoing traffic situation, follow construction guidance signs, and remain in the designated areas to avoid such dangers.

Provision of Blockages/Barriers

Effective use of barriers on construction sites is crucial as they limit or prevent access to work areas, expressed in the likelihood with risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals, falling objects, etc. It is essential to establish a clear boundary between the construction area and the third-party road facilities.

Project stakeholders are encouraged to pay attention to the establishment of appropriate gaps between barriers. Gaps exceeding six metres allow pedestrians to access construction areas with limited prohibition.

Provision of Traffic Direction for Heavy Machinery

Utilization of flagman to guide traffic, especially heavy machinery accessing the site is crucial. In their absence, road users tend to neglect road safety regulations, posing risks to both motorised traffic and non-motorised traffic. Therefore, the placement of trained flagmen is of utmost importance to optimize traffic flow with minimum hazel to the public.

Safety Training for Construction Workers

There are various activities on a construction site which involve a lot of hazardous substances, moving machinery and equipment, falling objects, that may lead to accidents and injuries, even death.

Ensuring workers have proper training to protect themselves, and prevent different risks associated with working on a construction site is of critical importance.

Carrying out regular safety training programs helps to keep workers safe on the job. Some of the essential areas of training include fall protection and prevention, excavation and trench safety, electrical safety, hazards communication, material handling and management, harnessing training for height-related works, and personal protection.

Therefore, the availability of a safety manual, the appointment of safety management officers, carryout regular safety instructions for new workers, regular safety patrols and daily safety assemblies are necessary on JICA-supported projects – to reemphasize the importance of maintaining good safety practices.

Other safety measures to be observed at construction sites include proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as helmets, safety shoes, reflective jackets, gloves, etc. is a minimum requirement, a clean and orderly site to ensure a safe working environment, and excessive dust on site should be mitigated.

In parallel with the above, road infrastructure development must be designed, built and maintained to provide safety for all road users, and safe mobility for all vulnerabilities should be encouraged. Not to mention, a clear policy and regulatory support by recipient governments can create a sustainable environment for safe mobility intervention.

In conclusion, improving safety on any construction site is not a one-time event, but an ongoing responsibility everyone has and owes to themselves. And when it comes to social infrastructure projects, where more than one life is at stake, strict compliance and regulation must be enforced.

The author is the program officer, JICA Uganda Office



0 #1 Henry 2024-06-06 14:47
Isn't the Nakawa spear junction funded by the Japanese government under JICA why don't we have pedestrians walkways on those roads
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