It’s no secret that road workers require the proper lighting to perform their various work activities. However, what’s many people don’t know is the amount of planning that goes into these arrangements—especially for nighttime jobs. Lighting plans are a vital component to the overall success of a project and, often, the means by which many individuals stay safe in or around a work zone. So when it comes to getting things ready for the next task, it’s crucial that you know how to make the best strategy possible. These are the steps for developing a construction zone lighting plan and why you should always take this process seriously.
The Importance of a Lighting Plan
Before you can start creating a lighting plan for your team, you need to know what this plan will help accomplish. Other than keeping the process organized, these plans are wonderful for ensuring that you’ll always have access to the appropriate amount of lighting. Since the natural level of light will fluctuate throughout the day, your plan will help you identify what equipment you need at various times. This way, you’ll know what you need ahead of time and always have the tools on hand to bring visibility back to optimal conditions.
It’s also important to mention that maintaining a steady amount of lighting will help to reinforce your traffic control efforts. When drivers can more clearly see the instructions they’re receiving, they’re more likely to respond appropriately. Lighting their proper path through the zone is also effective at keeping them away from workers. More visibility leads to higher levels of safety, both for those working on the site and the drivers passing by.
Crucial Planning Steps
Now that you’re aware of the purpose that detailed lighting plans serve, it’s time to start drawing one up for your own project. Keep in mind that this process will take a bit of time, as there are a lot of environmental factors for you to consider. However, in taking this stage seriously, you can help protect the lives of your coworkers and make the work more efficient in the process. These are the core steps for developing a construction zone lighting plan.
Draw Out the Project Area
First, carefully assess and draw out the designated work zone. Create a detailed, scaled image of the entire site that will allow you to note where you’ll need to place certain things. Make sure that you’re marking the locations of all workers, machinery, and even your traffic control equipment. You want as clear of a picture as possible so that you can most effectively arrange your lights. It also helps to section off specific regions of the map by station and shade out places with possible obstructions. This blueprint will provide you with an idea of what areas might need a bit more light than others.
Determine the Required Level of Light
From here, you can then begin to strategize the actual level of light your work zone is going to need. There are three main levels of lighting to consider, depending on your circumstances, and each will come with its own set of benefits and setbacks. Level I is the type of illumination necessary for all general working tasks, such as setup, takedown, and moving between locations. It’s the dimmest of the levels, but it isn’t dangerous for use in areas that don’t require high accuracy. Level II is a bit brighter—often effective in areas near large, moving construction equipment. You’ll need it primarily for tasks that require moderate accuracy and come with a reasonable amount of danger.
Then, lastly, level III is the highest amount of illumination appropriate for those in road construction. It’s essential in regions that are undergoing intricate repairs and utilizing very powerful equipment. In more technical terms, these areas must have an average light radius of 20 foot-candles, while level II and level I zones must only have light registering at 10 or 5 foot-candles.
Choose the Accommodating Lighting Options
Once you know which light levels are going to be necessary for your job site, it’s time to choose which lighting instruments you’re going to use. There are various types of lighting to consider for each task, and some of them may make a better fit than others. For this reason, you should be aware of your options so that you can make the most informed decision. In essence, there are four main kinds of lighting setups—portable light plant towers, balloon lighting, roadway luminaries, and equipment lights.
Towers and illuminates, for starters, are temporary, pole-like structures that allow you to mount additional lighting to them. They’re great for creating a wide radius of illumination and providing more directed light downward when necessary. Balloon lighting also works well for generating a larger area of evenly distributed light; however, they work best when mounted to slow-moving equipment—making them a perfect fit for level II regions. On the other hand, equipment lights are smaller in size and fastened to signs and barricades. They’re better for providing focused light along a smaller area and directing traffic safely through the construction zone.
Plan Lighting Placements and Field Test
After finalizing these choices, you can then plot out where to place the lights on your map and test that arrangement out in the field. Field testing is crucial to ensuring your equipment provides the right amount of coverage for your needs. In fact, failing to perform this initial trial can even leave your team without light in one of the most critical zones, so take some time before the project officially begins to set up your lights, observe their effects, and rearrange accordingly. Only then can you confidently say that you’re abiding by OSHA safety standards.
No two work zone lighting plans are going to be identical. Therefore, each project you take on will often require something different from the last. For this reason, whether you need arrow boards or specialized construction barricade lights, we at Traffic Safety Zone aim to provide our customers with as many options as possible. We can guarantee that you’ll find something to fit perfectly in your lighting plan. If you have any questions about our inventory or simply want to learn more about our best-sellers, please give us a call.