SAFETY REQUIREMENTS WHEN OPERATING IN ROADWAYS
C. Kenneth Anderson
Past President, Burlington County Fire Chiefs Association
Manual on Uniformed Traffic Control Devices
The 2009 Edition of the Manual on Uniformed Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) was released December 16, 2009 by the US Department of Transportation. The revised MUTCD took effect January 15, 2010. Workers on non-federal highways will have to be in compliance with the high-visibility safety apparel requirements by December 31, 2011.
Here are the Emergency Responder Safety Institute’s initial observations on the MUTCD:
Key features from the MUTCD:
CHAPTER 6A. GENERAL
Section 6A.01 General
The needs and control of all road users (motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians within the highway, or on private roads open to public travel through a temporary traffic control (TTC) zone shall be an essential part of the management of traffic incidents.
CHAPTER 6I. CONTROL OF TRAFFIC THROUGH TRAFFIC INCIDENT MANAGEMENT AREAS
Section 6I.01 General
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) requires the use of the Incident Command System (ICS) at traffic incident management scenes.
A traffic incident is an emergency road user occurrence, a natural disaster, or other unplanned event that affects or impedes the normal flow of traffic.
A traffic incident management area is an area of a highway where temporary traffic controls are installed, as authorized by a public authority or the official having jurisdiction of the roadway, in response to a road user incident, natural disaster, hazardous material spill, or other unplanned incident. It is a type of TTC zone and extends from the first warning device (such as a sign, light, or cone) to the last TTC device or to a point where vehicles return to the original lane alignment and are clear of the incident.
Traffic incidents can be divided into three general classes of duration, each of which has unique traffic control characteristics and needs. These classes are:
The primary functions of TTC at a traffic incident management area are to inform road users of the incident and to provide guidance information on the path to follow through the incident area. Alerting road users and establishing a well defined path to guide road users through the incident area will serve to protect the incident responders and those involved in working at the incident scene and will aid in moving road users expeditiously past or around the traffic incident, will reduce the likelihood of secondary traffic crashes, and will preclude unnecessary use of the surrounding local road system. Examples include a stalled vehicle blocking a lane, a traffic crash blocking the traveled way, a hazardous material spill along a highway, and natural disasters such as floods and severe storm damage.
Major traffic incidents are typically traffic incidents involving hazardous materials, fatal traffic crashes involving numerous vehicles, and other natural or man-made disasters. These traffic incidents typically involve closing all or part of a roadway facility for a period exceeding 2 hours.
Intermediate traffic incidents typically affect travel lanes for a time period of 30 minutes to 2 hours, and usually require traffic control on the scene to divert road users past the blockage. Full roadway closures might be needed for short periods during traffic incident clearance to allow traffic incident responders to accomplish their tasks.
Minor traffic incidents are typically disabled vehicles and minor crashes that result in lane closures of less than 30 minutes. On-scene responders are typically law enforcement and towing companies, and occasionally highway agency service patrol vehicles.
Requirement to use MUTCD Standards in New Jersey
In the New Jersey Administrative Code:
SUBCHAPTER 3. STANDARDS FOR TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES
(a) The basic principles concerning the design and usage of traffic control devices are governed by the MUTCD. The MUTCD, adopted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as a national standard for all classes of highways, is adopted by reference herein. All Department decisions with regard to traffic control devices shall be based on the MUTCD as provided by N.J.S.A. 39:4-120.
The full wording is found at http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/about/rules/pdf/chapter27.pdf
High-visibility Safety Apparel
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" or equivalent revisions, and labeled as meeting the ANSI 107-2004 standard performance for Class 2 or 3 risk exposure, except as provided in the option below. A person designated by the employer to be responsible for worker safety shall make the selection of the appropriate class of garment.
Except as provided in the option below, firefighters or other emergency responders working within the right-of-way shall wear high-visibility safety apparel as described in this Section.
The Move Over Law
This law requires motor vehicle operators to reduce the speed of their vehicles and change lanes when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck or highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is displaying flashing, blinking or alternating emergency lights.
The operator of a motor vehicle approaching an authorized emergency vehicle is to approach the vehicle with due caution and, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle. If a lane change would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, the operator is to reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which must be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.
The law also requires the operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck or highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle to approach the vehicle with due caution and, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the tow truck or highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions. If a lane change would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, the operator is to reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which must be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.
A violation of the law’s provisions is punishable by a fine of $100 to $500.
The law exists to provide protection to emergency workers. However, you never know what a driver will do – or what impairments the driver has. So, continue to watch our for yourself.
Safe Positioning While Operating In Or Near Moving Traffic
This procedure identifies parking practices for Fire Department apparatus and vehicles that will provide maximum protection and safety for personnel operating in or near moving vehicle traffic. It also identifies several approaches for individual practices to keep firefighters safe while exposed to the hazardous environment created by moving traffic.
Safety Apparel While Working In or Near Moving Traffic SOP
For incidents where exposure to the hazards of moving traffic are present for fire department personnel working on foot, this department policy can be summarized in the statement. “If your feet are on the street, your vest is on your chest.” Conforming to this policy places the member in compliance with Federal law 23 CFR Part 634 and applicable provisions of the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices (MUTCD).
Power Point Program-High Vis Traffic Vests for Fire and Emergency Responders
Program presented by Chief Ron Moore. Everything you need to make your agency compliant.
ISEA Lauds New Federal Mandate for High-Viz Safety Apparel in All Workzones
ARLINGTON, Va. (Dec. 18, 2009) -- The International Safety Equipment (ISEA) today lauded the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for issuing new rules to make road workers safer by requiring that they all wear high-visibility apparel whenever they are exposed to moving traffic, work vehicles or construction equipment.
Under rules published December 16, the FHWA adopted the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the standard for all the nation’s roadways. The revised MUTCD now requires that workers in a right-of-way or workzone, including emergency responders, must wear high-visibility apparel that meets Performance Class 2 or 3 requirements of ANSI/ISEA 107-2004, the American National Standard for High Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear.
Emergency responders, firefighters and law enforcement personnel have the option of wearing vests that meet the American National Standard for Public Safety Vests, ANSI/ISEA 207-2006. There is an exception for firefighters who may be directly exposed to fire, flame, heat or hazardous materials, and are wearing retro-reflective turnout gear that meets National Fire Protection Association or other applicable standards.
“This move by the highway administration represents a major safety enhancement for all workers along highways or in highway workzones, and one that has been needed for a long time,” said ISEA President Dan Shipp. “We know of too many instances where high-visibility apparel could have made the difference between workers returning home after a shift or being taken to hospitals. Worker visibility in any light is crucial to saving lives and preventing injuries.”
Both standards for high-visibility apparel were developed by the ISEA High-Visibility Products Group in response to the need for greater protection for roadway workers, and approved as American National Standards. They include performance and design requirements for background and retroreflective material that provide enhanced visibility day and night.
The new rule extends protection to all workers on all roadways. Previously, the MUTCD had required high-visibility apparel only for flaggers, and recommended its use for other workers. An interim regulation published by FHWA had mandated the use of garments complying with the ANSI/ISEA standard, but only for workers on federal-aid highways.
Separate sections of the MUTCD require the use of ANSI/ISEA 107-compliant apparel for flaggers and adult school crossing guards. The flagger section also permits the use of ANSI/ISEA 207-compliant public-safety vests for law enforcement personnel directing traffic in workzones.
The revised MUTCD takes effect January 15, 2010, and all states will have to adopt it as their state standard within two years. Workers will have to be in compliance with the high-visibility apparel requirements by December 31, 2011. The safety apparel requirement for workers in federal-aid highway workzones has been in effect since November 2008.
The Move Over Law
An Act concerning motor vehicle operators and supplementing chapter 4 of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
C.39:4-92.2 Procedure for motorist approaching stationary authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle.
1. a. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors, shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:
(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or
(2) If a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.
b. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck as defined in section 1 of P.L.1999, c.396 (C.39:3-84.6) that is displaying a flashing amber light or a stationary highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is operated by the State, an authority or a county or municipality and displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:
(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the tow truck or highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or
(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.
c. A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500.
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
Approved January 27, 2009.
Highway Incident Traffic Safety Guidelines for Emergency Responders
A draft of this document has been prepared with the cooperation of the New Jersey State Police and Division of Fire Safety, with input from the State Fire Chiefs Association, the State Career Fire Chiefs Association, the State Chiefs of Police, and the State First Aid Council. However, the document has not bee endorsed by the NJ Attorney General.
General Information on Highway Safety
A website, http://www.respondersafety.com, is maintained by the CVVFA Emergency Responder Safety Institute, a Committee of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association. The Institute serves as an informal advisory panel of public safety leaders committed to reducing deaths and injuries to America's Emergency Responders.
Many training materials are available on the website.
New Jersey Highway Safety Materials
The mission of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety is to reduce fatalities, injuries and property damage on the roads of New Jersey resulting from traffic crashes. To achieve its mission, the Division undertakes traffic safety programs relating to Education, Enforcement, and Engineering.
In relation to Firefighter highway safety, the Move Over section of the website, http://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/index.html, is most helpful.