Work zone is defined by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 29 CFR 630.1004 as an area of a highway with construction, maintenance, or utility work activities. A work zone is typically marked by signs, channelizing devices, barriers, pavement markings, and/or work vehicles. It extends from the first warning sign or high-intensity rotating, flashing, oscillating, or strobe lights on a vehicle to the END ROAD WORK sign or the last temporary traffic control (TTC) device.
What are the hazards associated with highway work zones?
Falls, struck by or caught between vehicles and equipment, and electrical hazards are the common hazards associated with work in highway work zones and can result in serious injury and death.
What can I do to protect myself?
Workers must always be sure to don high visibility vests or other high visibility clothing prior to entering a highway work zone. In addition, workers should be trained about the use and meaning of temporary traffic control devices used to warn motorists and others about the boundaries of a highway work zone.
What resources are available to assist employers?
A-Z Safety and Health Topics
Safety and Health Programs
Example programs and assessment forms for respiratory protection, electrical safety, and PPE hazard assessment are available for customization to fit the conditions and atmospheric hazards to be encountered in the workplace.
Training and Outreach Services
The struck by/caught between and work zone safety presentations may be adapted for your workplace. In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.
Further, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).
Lastly, the consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.
Which standards apply?
OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to highway work zone safety in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic.
- 29 CFR 1926.95 - criteria for personal protective equipment
- 29 CFR 1926.96 - occupational foot protection
- 29 CFR 1926.100 - head protection
- 29 CFR 1926.101 - hearing protection
- 29 CFR 1926.102 - eye and face protection
- 29 CFR 1926.103 (29 CFR 1910.134) - respiratory protection
- 29 CFR 1926.104 - safety belts, lifelines, and lanyards
- 29 CFR 1926.105 - safety nets
- 29 CFR 1926.1153 - respirable crystalline silica
General Duty Clause
Additionally, N.C. General Statute 95-129(1), commonly referred to as the General Duty Clause, may be applied for recognized serious hazards not covered by a specific NCDOL standard.
Other Applicable Standards
The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.
Where can I learn more?
Compliance Directive: CPL 02-01-054, Inspection and Citation Guidance for Roadway and Highway Construction Work Zones, establishes enforcement policy and provides an explanation of applicable standards to ensure uniform enforcement.
Standards Notice: SN 73, Requirements for High-Visibility Apparel and Enforcement of the Federal Highway Administration Regulation, 23 CFR 634, discusses the OSH Division application of this regulation to law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency response personnel.
Industry Guide 48, OSHA Construction Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training highlights the requirements of standards related to construction.
Industry Guide 49 - OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Trainingprovides requirements for standards related to general industry.
If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 919-707-7876.