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How to Properly Cone Off Your Work Area


How to Properly Cone Off Your Work Area (2)

Work zone safety and traffic control is one of OSHA’s safety standards for aerial lifts. Setting up a proper work zone with warnings, signs, visual signals, and cones can help prevent accidents and hazards associated with aerial lifts and workers, including struck-by accidents, falls from the lift, and ejections from the lift. When preparing to work near a busy traffic area, it’s important to consider the safety of workers and how to cone off the work zone to prevent cars from getting too close. 

Creating the Work Zone Traffic Control with Cones

Properly coning off a work zone involving workers and aerial lifts will require the dividing of the temporary traffic control area to provide advanced warning to vehicles and allow the safe flow of traffic away from and around the work area.

  • The Advance Warning Zone

The advance warning zone is the part of the road or highway where vehicles are first made aware of the upcoming work zone. On busy, city streets, the advance warning area should run 4-8 times the mph speed limit. In less busy, rural streets, the length range is 8-12 times the mph speed limit.

  • The Transition Zone

The transition zone is the section of the street or highway where motorists are directed out of the normal pathway using cones placed in a line to create a temporary barrier.

  • The Activity Zone

This is where the actual work takes place and is designated with cones to direct vehicles away from workers and machines.

  • The Termination Zone

The termination area is the end of the work zone where drivers are redirected to their natural driving path. It is usually ended with an “End Road Work” sign.

How to Position Cone Tapers

Tapers are the sections of the traffic control zone in which cars are not supposed to pass through, and are usually created using cones.

Decide the length of the taper using the following guidelines:

W = width of the offset in feet

S = posted speed limit

Street with 40 mph or less = W2=/60 taper length

Street with 45 mph or more = WS taper length

Determine the length of the taper according to the following:

  • Merging taper (before the transition zone)—at least the length of the taper in feet
  • Shifting taper (when a side-ways shift is required)—at least half of the taper length in feet
  • Shoulder taper (where the shoulder is included in the activity zone on a high-speed road)—at least one third of the taper length in feet
  • One-lane, two-way traffic (before the activity area)—at least 50 feet in length, and less than 100 feet
  • Downstream taper—at least 50 feet, and less than 100 feet

Invest in aerial lift training for your employees from to teach them how to operate aerial lifts, how to assess the surrounding environment, how to set up a work zone with cones, and how to avoid accidents.

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