The Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association (CSDA) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) have produced more than goodwill since the partnership of the two organizations on March 16, 2006. As part of the Alliance, a new safety series CSDA/OSHA Best Practices for Sawing and Drilling Operations was released in January 2007 at the World of Concrete.

The series is an effort to promote the safety of workers in the concrete sawing and drilling industry. The first document, “Highway Work Zone Safety Checklist,” provides the industry with the best procedures and practices for performing sawing and drilling operations in a highway work zone to help protect drivers and workers, and to prevent fatal accidents.

“Injury statistics alone prove that there is a need for special emphasis on training and awareness regarding highway work zone safety and best practices,” said CSDA president Susan Hollingsworth. Future best practices to be published by the Alliance include motor vehicle safety, respiratory protection for hazards associated with silica, and fall protection.

The following are excerpts from the introduction to the “Highway Work Zone Safety Checklist.”

Sawing and cutting adjacent to moving vehicles in a highway work zone is special work. Every jobsite is different and site-specific safety concerns must be addressed prior to commencement of work. Drivers approaching the work area need to be informed that they are entering a highway work zone and they must observe the road rules for that job. When on foot or in a vehicle, always try to face oncoming traffic.

Prior to the start of work, the Temporary Traffic Control Plan must be shared with all employees operating in the work zone. This plan should match the design for the conditions by following the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the State DOTs, or local law enforcement officials. Verify that the sketch of the temporary traffic control zone on the Traffic Control Checklist has been approved by the proper officials prior to work.

  • Explore the possibility of lane closures and detours to route the traffic away from the project.
  • The pattern of signs, signals, message boards, cones, barrels, barriers, and vehicles is designed so that moving traffic will be routed around and away from the work area. Never move the warning and directional signs or the barriers without approval of this new temporary traffic control zone.
  • The parts of a temporary traffic control zone are the advance warning area, transition area, buffer zone or zones, work space, and termination area. Buffer zones are the protective spaces in front and after the work zone, and on the traffic side of the cones. Never place the saw beyond the cones and barrels into the buffer space.
  • When vehicles are used as barriers, they should have crash-attenuating devices to prevent movement if they are struck.
  • Night work and flagger stations should be illuminated.
  • Employees must wear high-visibility safety apparel, hard hats, safety glasses/face protection, steel-toed work boots, hearing protection, gloves, and respiratory protection.
  • Keep all cones and barrels visible by cleaning the slurry from these traffic control devices.
  • Never work or stand in the path of moving traffic inside or outside of the work zone. Never allow a saw or pointer to enter a moving lane of traffic.
  • Try to direct work trucks and other vehicles in the work zone so movement is always forward. Limit backing up as much as possible.
  • Be aware of overhead and underground utilities.
  • Always hold both handles of a saw. Never straddle the handles of a flat saw.
  • Never operate vehicles or equipment while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or medication that can interfere with your ability to operate this machinery safely.
  • Work should be suspended if there are unresolved safety concerns, inclement weather, and/or vehicular accidents.