A work zone protects the roadside work area. Signs, cones and other devices are used to alert or warn motorists, and guide them away from the work area.

Proper set up of work zones is critical for the safety of workers as well as motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. However, be aware that the action of setting up and dismantling work zones is often the most dangerous part of roadside work.

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Work zone layout

  • Ensure that there is a traffic control plan for the work zone layout. This could be a simple diagram, showing where signs, cones and other devices are to be placed. The traffic control plan must include the use of signs to alert drivers to your presence. Cones alone are not enough.
  • Ensure that the work zone layout addresses the site-specific hazards (e.g., signage and cone placement takes into account hills, curves in the road). Consult with your supervisor to modify the layout as necessary.
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Work zone set up and take down

  • Ensure you have the required equipment such as signs, cones and barriers. All equipment should be clean, and in good condition.
  • Set up the work zone devices in the order that drivers will encounter them. Begin with the sign or device farthest away (upstream) from the work area. Do not turn your back to traffic as you set up the work zone.
  • Once the work zone is set up, travel through the work zone to view it from a driver’s perspective. Do signs, cones and other devices provide clear guidance to motorists and other road users? Could they find anything confusing? Are workers clearly visible?
  • Periodically throughout the day, make sure signs, cones and other devices are still in position.
  • Dismantle the work zone as soon as the work is completed and signs and devices are no longer needed.  In general, devices should be removed in opposite order of installation with cones and other devices removed first, followed by signs.
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