Working on a construction site can be challenging if you’re not prepared and protected – even in the best circumstances. At night, the challenges and potential dangers multiply, mostly due to limited visibility – you must be able to see what you’re doing (and what your colleagues and others around you are doing) and where you’re going. It’s also crucial that coworkers, pedestrians, and drivers can see you. So take the proper precautions. According to Workzonesafety.org, some night-time construction dangers are bright lights (and the glare they produce), drunk driving, reduced visibility for motorists, among others. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during your night shift.
Get a good night’s sleep
Working the night or overnight shift can be extremely wearing on the mind and body, particularly if the schedule is a change from what you’re used to. It can throw your circadian rhythm – your internal “clock,” which regulates your sleep/wake cycle – out of whack, causing fatigue, malaise, depression, and more. To help you stay awake and alert, try to maintain a regular sleep schedule to ensure that you get eight hours of sleep every day. Blackout curtains are a great way to keep your room darkened to help you sleep, and sleep masks are another good option. A white noise machine can work wonders to help calm you as you prepare for sleep, too. And try not to drink too much caffeine in the hours before bedtime.
Use proper lighting
Be sure the area in which you’re working is well-lit and that all tools, surfaces, and walkways are visible. Also, make certain that the site is equipped with backup lighting and a generator in case of a power outage, and be sure that there is a navigable escape route in case of emergency. According to Solight, the different types of lighting that can be used are light towers, balloon lighting, night lights, and high-mass lighting. Each one has a different purpose that can help ensure you have full visibility on the site. For example, high-mass lighting is a great temporary option to have on hand if you need extra light. This type of lighting fulfills the OSHA requirement, so you can have peace of mind that you are doing everything you can to make sure you are safe on the job site.
One of the easiest things you can do to help keep yourself safe while working at night is to make yourself visible to others. According to DB Krieg, more than half of the fatalities caused by run-overs or back-overs involved construction vehicles. Do you know why this happens? It’s because of low visibility. Taking the time to ensure that you have the proper gear is important so both you and your work area can be seen by everyone. Clothing options for visibility at night include retroreflective vests, pants, and jackets. The light reflects off of the material, so you are easy to spot, which decreases the hazard level on the job site. In addition, signs and markings should be reflective, too, so they are more visible to oncoming traffic. You do not want to be included in a statistic because you forgot to put on your vest.
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