Summary Statement

A manual that helps a trainer provide information on a variety of roadway hazards, such as electrical, falls, slips and trips and ergonomics. Part of a collection. Click on the 'collection' button to access the other items.

This document is one in a program produced under an OSHA grant by a consortium of the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund N.A, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the American Road and Transportation Builders Assn, and the National Asphalt Pavement Assn. All of the documents from this set that are on eLCOSH can be found by clicking on Job Site, Heavy construction, and scrolling to the Street & highway heading. Or to download a complete version of the computerized program, go to

What Are the Special Challenges?

Over the last 10 years the amount of road construction work performed at night has risen. As traffic congestion increases in urban areas, night work will continue to be a fundamental part of the road construction industry.

Night operations change the work environment. On the work site, we must deal with these nighttime issues:
  • roadway visibility for motorists,
  • work zone visibility for workers,
  • communication between shifts,
  • impaired drivers, and
  • risk of drowsy motorists. Night work causes physical and social disruptions, such as:
  • sleep deprivation or disruption,
  • risk of injury from drowsiness, and
  • impaired personal relationships.
Fig. NW-1A
Fig. NW-1A. Night work changes the work environment and requires many adjustments.

Fig. NW-1B.
Fig. NW-1B. Night work causes physical and social disruptions.


Ask trainees: Have you ever worked at night before? How much more dangerous is night work? How did it affect your family life?

Ask trainees: How far does a headlight beam shine compared with the stopping distance of the car?

How Can We Protect Ourselves at Night?

Use these SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS at the site for night work. First, increase visibility:
  • retro-reflective clothing,
  • flashing lights on body/clothing,
  • retro-reflective tape on equipment, and
  • adequate work area lighting.
Second, know your surroundings:
  • vehicle and equipment paths,
  • assigned work areas,
  • safe paths to/from work locations,
  • on foot, watch out for equipment,
  • on equipment, watch for workers.
A typical roadway construction project is a fast-paced series of interconnected operations involving work crews, construction equipment and vehicles, and traveling motorists.

Construction work zones do not change significantly from day to night, but our perception of them is dramatically different.

Workers on foot especially need to consider the work site in general and note any potentially dangerous areas or potential situations. They should also be familiar with the internal traffic control plan for the job, if any, and especially understand the locations where they are to work and move about safely.

Fig. NW-2.
Fig. NW-2. Night work requires many special precautions, including increased visibility and knowledge of surroundings.


DEMONSTRATION: Use a retro-reflective vest and a flashlight for this demonstration. Turn off the lights and shine the flashlight on the retro-reflective vest to demonstrate its effectiveness.

What is retro-reflective? Next time you're driving at night, think about how the road signs magically light up so you can read them as you pass. These signs are retro-reflective. The sign surface has either glass spheres or triangular prisms (pyramids) that take the headlight beam and bend it back to the car driver and passengers. The retro-reflected light returns to the driver as a cone of light. Anyone outside the cone will not see the sign at night.

NOTE: Operators should check the lights on their equipment to make sure they are operational. Use flashing/strobe lights on equipment and trucks.

Third, provide positive motorist guidance. Increase visibility:
  • position signs for best visibility,
  • use changing message or arrow signs,
  • space drums and cones closer together, and
  • use proper lighting and contrast work lights from warning lights.
Fourth, inspect the traffic control setup:
  • test drive to highlight problems and
  • inspect it frequently.
How Can Our Health Habits Help?

Night work is not normal. You must compensate. On the work site:
  • Eat protein-rich meals and avoid sugars and fats.
  • Drink water. Avoid caffeine. At home:
  • Make sleep a priority.
  • Follow a pre-sleep routine.
  • Have light snack before bed.
  • Keep daylight out.
  • Eat family meals together.
  • Plan non-nighttime social activities.
Fig. NW-3.
Fig. NW-3. Night work requires many special precautions, including increased visibility and knowledge of surroundings.

Fig. NW-4.
Fig. NW-4. Good health habits can help.


Lighted flagger stations can be helpful.

CAUTION: Motorists may be blinded by work zone work lights.

Shadows on the work site can also be a hazard of night work.

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