Scheduling construction activities for the nighttime is an increasingly popular industry practice. The reasons are not farfetched: first, there is more efficiency because the temperature is cooler, and second, you have little or no congestion to deal with. However, there are a few vital measures to put in place to ensure the safety of everyone involved – the clients, the general public, and, of course, your team.
Lightning for Night Time Construction
Getting the light right is very crucial when it comes to nighttime construction. Asides from ensuring safety, it guarantees almost maximum efficiency and work quality. This is why you must carefully design an adequate lighting strategy for your construction project.
Consider the factors below when choosing the most suitable lighting equipment for your site:
1. Work Zone Type
You can either have a moving work zone or a stationary work zone. For mobile construction sites like paving operations, you can choose between a mobile lighting system that can be movable according to your activities or fixed lighting that can adequately light the entire area. Likewise, you can opt for pole-mounted roadway luminaries for stationary work zones, especially if it is an extended project. Alternatively, you can set up light towers on your trailer or have multiple balloon lighting setups at strategic areas.
2. Glare and Invasion
You don’t want your construction lighting to affect people, including motorists and your workers, adversely. Hence, you should control lighting by adopting the right blocks and shields. You also need to ensure your lighting doesn’t invade private properties. Proper light positioning and correctly shielding your lighting equipment can minimize or prevent invasion.
There are two ways to acquire lighting equipment – buying and owning your lighting equipment or renting. You should access both options and see which works best for you.
Noise Control During Night Time Construction
While the nighttime is known for its coolness and minimal congestion, it is also usually silent. Considering there is no way to go about construction activities without making noise, the nighttime silence makes it even more challenging to handle the noise. That is why you must identify and explore possible avenues to reduce excessive noise.
Noise barriers and curtains are an excellent way to start. These setups can considerably reduce noise and ensure you do not disturb the general public or inconvenience your workers. Oh, another reason to keep the noise down is to avoid government sanctions. There is usually a certain decibel level you cannot exceed while running a nighttime construction schedule.
Some construction activities are noisier than others. The state Departments of Transportation identified the top noise generators as backup alarms, crushers, milling/grinding machines, hoe rams, and slamming tailgates. Furthermore, watch out for equipment with diesel engines; they are often noisier. Other equipment parts like tires, air intake components, and transmission setups also generate more noise.
Handling Vibrations and Dust
Whether you work during the day or night, construction activities will almost always generate vibrations and dust. But these may be more disturbing at night, and this is because the silence amplifies the vibrations while the artificial lighting propels the floating dust particles.
Dampening the site with water trucks can minimize the dust. Hydraulic brooms also help in clearing up the ground effectively. Overall, you need an effective dust control technique as part of your work plan. It is the only way to improve the air quality on site.
Vibrations are disturbing, but low-frequency vibrations – usually 1 Hz to 100 Hz – are usually more disturbing. Such vibrations can damage fragile buildings if not well managed. Low vibration amplitudes can also affect historical buildings or disrupt laboratory equipment and similar sensitive devices nearby.
Therefore, ensure your nighttime construction work plan factors in the effect of vibrations from construction equipment at night, and minimize them.
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Safety Is Key
Nighttime construction safety is non-negotiable. You should make adequate provisions to secure workers and equipment. First, identify and address the site hazards and safety risks even before bringing workers and equipment to the site. The nature of nighttime construction demands that you factor in special circumstances.
Interestingly, the best way to deal with construction safety risks and hazards is prevention; management only comes second. Therefore, after designing a safety plan, there must be continuous monitoring to track the plan’s effectiveness and make adjustments when necessary.
Potential safety problems on nighttime construction sites include low visibility, lighting glares, noise levels, and air quality. Others are working standards, staffing challenges, traffic control, impaired drivers, and higher vehicle speeds. Therefore, the assessment is best done individually for each zone, considering the peculiarity of each construction project.
The best risk management plan will depend on the site conditions, workers and equipment on-site, timelines, and contract details.
More on Worker Safety at Night
Keeping the work zone will keep you out of legal troubles and keep everyone healthy. But that is not all. Not having safety concerns means zero downtime, setbacks, or extra costs. Invest in quality safety training for your workers, alongside the right safety gear and garments, especially highly visible and retro-reflective clothing visible from 300m away.
For best results, we recommend that you make the safety training mandatory for everyone on-site, and each worker should undergo it as soon as they come in. It is also advisable that you hold regular safety talks as construction activities pick up.
Design a safety plan before the start of work on site.
Organize regular safety training sessions and seminars for workers.
Create and announce a safety incentive program for everyone.
Monitor and investigate all safety oversights and incidents.
Every element of nighttime construction we have discussed so far is important, and paying attention to all of them will guarantee your success. The best way to prepare for the unusual circumstances associated with the night shift is to design and follow a proper construction work plan. With a robust plan, you can cover all the essential aspects adequately and safely while reaping night construction benefits.