Canadian Rental Service

What went Hong: Drive safe

By James Hong   

Features Government and regulatory

Equipment drivers have a lot to think about.

Whether for delivery, moving material, or operating light and heavy machinery, safe driving practices start with driver training and vehicle maintenance. It is simply not possible to safely drive a faulty or compromised vehicle. A routine maintenance schedule should be part of every working vehicle’s ownership responsibilities. Driver training is as important, not only to ensure proper operation but also to train drivers to understand the requirements for driving related to construction work. Safe driving goes hand-in-hand with proper worksite access setup. Let’s have a look at both site access setup and safe driving practices.

Driving on construction sites should be done with caution, following safety protocols and regulations to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of workers and equipment. This not only protects workers it also protects equipment. Access roads must be clearly indicated, using signage for speed limits and direction with defined pedestrian paths that have barriers and cones. Where needed, the site manager should employ full time traffic control such as flaggers or traffic lights for managing vehicle flow as well as creating pedestrian paths and walkways separate and away from vehicle paths. Vehicle roads must be wide enough for specific vehicle sizes. They should be properly graded and stabilized for the vehicle loads. Congestion should be managed by designating both construction vehicle and worker vehicle parking. Road obstruction can be mitigated by storing material away from access and worksite roads. There should be sufficient lighting on roads and paths. Access roads are affected by vehicle use and weather, therefore it is important to prevent deterioration and hazards with routine road and path checks to determine maintenance requirements. If your drivers are arriving at sites where these conditions are not in place, they should evaluate the situation carefully before entering and not enter if they don’t feel safe.

Drivers should start the day by checking their vehicles for good working conditions and proper suitable tires including a spare tire and jack. They need to make sure to carry proper identification and authorization for jobsite entry.  They should wear appropriate personal protective equipment – a bare minimum of a hard hat and high-visibility vest will help protect them when exiting and entering the vehicle. For site vehicle coordination they should use two-way radios or other devices to stay informed of traffic activity and changes to access. They need to always be diligent in following posted speed limits and slow down in areas with construction activities while keeping a safe distance from workers, work activities, pedestrians and other vehicles. They must obey signs, signals and flaggers and  be aware of construction vehicle limitations such as large blind spots. Drivers should keep their headlights on; studies have shown that keeping headlights on even in daylight increases visibility by a large margin. As is the case for all driving, they shouldn’t use their phones or engage in any distracting activities while operating the vehicle. They need to know where they are going, how to get there and how to safely manoeuver through the worksite. They should always yield right of way to equipment and workers and ensure their own load is securely in place using load management. When driving an oversized or slow-moving vehicle they need to use their hazard lights to alert other drivers and follow and stay within marked lanes. Remind them to drive appropriately for weather conditions and slow down to accommodate weather elements. They should follow road restrictions such as off-limit access and know the location of emergency exits and first-aid stations on the worksite.

Finally, drivers need to be prepared for sudden stops, maintaining safe braking distances from vehicles in front of them. They need to be aware of how their load will affect the space they need to stop.


Be safe. Be well.  

James Hong is an independent safety writer and journalist.

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