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In just the past week, there have been six vehicle crashes at school bus stops in the US, resulting in the deaths of five children. While none took place in Massachusetts, this is a powerful reminder that we need to do everything we can to keep crossing guards, and the children they protect, safe from harm. Cities and towns that employ crossing guards play a vital role in ensuring crossing guards can safely and effectively do their job.

Training

As the employer, it is each municipality’s responsibility to regularly train crossing guards. This helps refresh their memory about rules and regulations while also providing safety measures they can use.  The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) recently released a new training for crossing guards.  Ideally municipalities would provide this training to crossing guards annually before classes begin. Another good time to review safety practices is prior to seasons changing, when upcoming weather conditions will affect their work environment.

Provide a Safe Work Area

Municipalities should use the Safe Routes to School Program to regularly review how kids are walking to school and the locations where crossing guards are assigned.  It is important to keep in mind how the weather may affect these routes and find ways to keep them clear and safe. The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards (DLS) has requirements for crosswalk roadway marking, signage, and locations. The specifics can be found in their Tips for Crossing Guard Supervisors.

Municipalities are responsible for ensuring that motorists are obeying the speed limit especially where crossing guards will be assisting students in getting across the street safely.  We offer this fact sheet which municipalities can use to remind all motorists about their responsibilities to help keep kids and crossing guards safe.

Use Proper Protective Equipment

Crossing Guards must wear high visibility reflective clothing and use a STOP paddle. DLS has personal protective equipment requirements that must be provided by the municipalities to crossing guards in order to help ensure their safety. According to MUTCD 7D.04.01, reflective clothing must be labeled as ANSI 107-2004 Class 2 or Class 3 or ANSI 1072015 Type R2 or Type R3. It is also important to replace these items once they have faded.

Written By:


Occupational Fatality Projects Coordinator, Occupational Health Surveillance Program

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