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Lighting improvements could create better in construction

Not all (or most) jobs require that a worker work at the side of a dark Colorado road when most others are asleep. Construction work, however, does require workers to be in that hazardous situation at times.

EHS Today suggests that those workers could be better protected from construction injuries if only their visibility were improved. If the difference between you being seen by a driver or not depended on a simple reflective vest or piece of tape, how comfortable would you be on the road at midnight?

OSHA reports that 775 workers were killed in construction accidents in 2012. That is evidence that construction is a dangerous field, which only makes it especially crucial for industry leaders and employers to employ advanced safety measures and reevaluate the effectiveness of the measures that are currently used to protect workers.

One area of worker protection that could be due for upgrading is lighting a construction site. More advanced lighting systems (beyond reflective tape and strips) could serve a dual purpose. First, what EHS Today describes as active safety systems would light an area and make workers more visible to their peers as well as passers-by. Second, the more advanced lighting systems would allow the workers to better see what they are doing. They would be less likely to hurt themselves, and they might even get jobs done more quickly.

Worker safety should evolve as technology advances and lessons are learned, with the goal always staying the same. Employers and workplace safety officials must set and enact regulations that succeed in preventing worker injuries and fatalities. Doing so not only can serve workers' best interests but also the best interests of the companies who employ them. And in the case of dark construction sites, better lighting might just be a bright idea.

Source: EHS Today, "Personal Safety: Illumination In The 21st Century," Max Baker, Feb.11, 2014

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