The newly revised Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) was released December 16 by the US Department of Transportation. Jack Sullivan CVVFA Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI) Director of Training and member of the National Committee that edits the MUTCD completed a preliminary review of the document. His initial comments follow. Links to download the entire document are posted on this site.
The ERSI has received a Firefighter Safety Grant through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program administer by FEMA to prepare training materials based on the MUTCD. With our partner Fire Service Publications at Oklahoma State University we will be publishing an Essentials Manual based on the material in the MUTCD to assist in the training of firefighters and other roadway responders.
Check this site for expanded information as the ERSI analyses the material in the MUTCD. Meanwhile here are our initial observations:
· Public Safety Vests-ANSI 207 are included and as approved PPE
· Requires High Visibility Garment on all roadways, Deletes “federal-aid" highway reference
· Allows for use of Stop/Slow paddles with strobes
· Allowing for the use of flares and emphasis on us removing flares from roadway upon leaving the scene (a significant training point)
· Retained the wording that allows the use of whatever traffic control devices available in the early stages of an incident
· Black text on pink signs used for temporary traffic control
· Defines the term “Safe-Positioned”—the positioning of emergency vehicles at an incident in a manner that attempts to protect both the responders performing their duties and road users traveling through the incident scene, while minimizing, to the extent practical, disruption of the adjacent traffic flow
Other important considerations for responders include: MUTCD 2009 Final Rule - Section 6D.03 Worker Safety Considerations
01 Equally as important as the safety of road users traveling through the TTC zone is the safety of workers. TTC zones present temporary and constantly changing conditions that are unexpected by the road user. This creates an even higher degree of vulnerability for workers on or near the roadway.
02 Maintaining TTC zones with road user flow inhibited as little as possible, and using TTC devices that get the road user's attention and provide positive direction are of particular importance. Likewise, equipment and vehicles moving within the activity area create a risk to workers on foot. When possible, the separation of moving equipment and construction vehicles from workers on foot provides the operator of these vehicles with a greater separation clearance and improved sight lines to minimize exposure to the hazards of moving vehicles and equipment.
03 The following are the key elements of worker safety and TTC management that should be considered to improve worker safety:
- Training—all workers should be trained on how to work next to motor vehicle traffic in a way that minimizes their vulnerability. Workers having specific TTC responsibilities should be trained in TTC techniques, device usage, and placement.
- Temporary Traffic Barriers—temporary traffic barriers should be placed along the work space depending on factors such as lateral clearance of workers from adjacent traffic, speed of traffic, duration and type of operations, time of day, and volume of traffic.
- Speed Reduction—reducing the speed of vehicular traffic, mainly through regulatory speed zoning, funneling, lane reduction, or the use of uniformed law enforcement officers or flaggers, should be considered.
- Activity Area—planning the internal work activity area to minimize backing-up maneuvers of construction vehicles should be considered to minimize the exposure to risk.
- Worker Safety Planning—a trained person designated by the employer should conduct a basic hazard assessment for the worksite and job classifications required in the activity area. This safety professional should determine whether engineering, administrative, or personal protection measures should be implemented. This plan should be in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, as amended, "General Duty Clause" Section 5(a)(1) - Public Law 91-596, 84 Stat. 1590, December 29, 1970, as amended, and with the requirement to assess worker risk exposures for each job site and job classification, as per 29 CFR 1926.20 (b)(2) of "Occupational Safety and Health Administration Regulations, General Safety and Health Provisions" (see Section 1A.11)
04 All workers, including emergency responders, within the right-of-way who are exposed either to traffic (vehicles using the highway for purposes of travel) or to work vehicles and construction equipment within the TTC zone shall wear high-visibility safety apparel that meets the Performance Class 2 or 3 requirements of the ANSI/ISEA 107–2004 publication entitled "American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear" (see Section 1A.11), or equivalent revisions, and labeled as meeting the ANSI 107-2004 standard performance for Class 2 or 3 risk exposure, except as provided in Paragraph 5. A person designated by the employer to be responsible for worker safety shall make the selection of the appropriate class of garment.
05 Emergency and incident responders and law enforcement personnel within the TTC zone may wear high-visibility safety apparel that meets the performance requirements of the ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 publication entitled "American National Standard for High-Visibility Public Safety Vests" (see Section 1A.11), or equivalent revisions, and labeled as ANSI 207-2006, in lieu of ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 apparel.
Standard:06 When uniformed law enforcement personnel are used to direct traffic, to investigate crashes, or to handle lane closures, obstructed roadways, and disasters, high-visibility safety apparel as described in this Section shall be worn by the law enforcement personnel.
07 Except as provided in Paragraph 8, firefighters or other emergency responders working within the right-of-way shall wear high-visibility safety apparel as described in this Section.
08 Firefighters or other emergency responders working within the right-of-way and engaged in emergency operations that directly expose them to flame, fire, heat, and/or hazardous materials may wear retro reflective turn-out gear that is specified and regulated by other organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association.
09 The following are additional elements of TTC management that may be considered to improve worker safety:
- Shadow Vehicle—in the case of mobile and constantly moving operations, such as pothole patching and striping operations, a shadow vehicle, equipped with appropriate lights and warning signs, may be used to protect the workers from impacts by errant vehicles. The shadow vehicle may be equipped with a rear-mounted impact attenuator.
- Road Closure—if alternate routes are available to handle road users, the road may be closed temporarily. This may also facilitate project completion and thus further reduce worker vulnerability.
- Law Enforcement Use—in highly vulnerable work situations, particularly those of relatively short duration, law enforcement units may be stationed to heighten the awareness of passing vehicular traffic and to improve safety through the TTC zone.
- Lighting—for nighttime work, the TTC zone and approaches may be lighted.
- Special Devices—these include rumble strips, changeable message signs, hazard identification beacons, flags, and warning lights. Intrusion warning devices may be used to alert workers to the approach of errant vehicles.
10 Judicious use of the special devices described in Item E in Paragraph 9 might be helpful for certain difficult TTC situations, but misuse or overuse of special devices or techniques might lessen their effectiveness.
Responders must be familiar with the MUTCD. This document contains significant compliance issues that impact all agencies who respond to roadway responders. Readers can count on www.respondersafety.com to provide training materials, downloads and Q and A’s on the MUTCD.