Have you ever come across roadworks and been confused by the traffic management? Maybe the gaps between the cones are large enough for a vehicle to move between, maybe there are conflicting arrows, maybe there doesn’t appear to be any reason for them. The risk of a vehicle incident is much higher when the traffic management plan appears confusing – both for the road users and for the road workers.
Your workplace can be just as confusing and high-risk, particularly if people are new to the site. There are three aspects to traffic management in a workplace: the site, the vehicles or machines, and the people.
Improving safety at the site means looking at the layout of the site, its purpose, and the way it is used. Some issues to consider include: is the site methodically laid out? Is the speed limit clearly displayed? You may need to consider speed bumps or other means to slow traffic. Are traffic areas separate so that machinery such as forklifts is separate from the trucks? Is the staff car parking clear of the operating area? Can visitors easily identify parking and is it away from the operating area? A one-way system of traffic flow is always best as the traffic flow is predictable and requires no, or less, reversing. Are walkways clearly marked? Line marking them works well, so does using other objects, such as cones, barriers, even planter boxes.
Consider the vehicles or machines. Are they fit for purpose? Think about the visibility of the machines – lights, beepers, colour, etc. Can the workflow be set up to reduce the number of interactions between vehicles, machines and people?
People need to be aware of what the traffic movements are like in the workplace; for example, are they likely to be crossing paths with trucks or forklifts? They need to understand the safe locations to stand when loading and unloading is taking place. Induction of staff, contractors and relevant visitors is important. Staff need to be aware of their surroundings and what is expected of them.
Creating and documenting a traffic management plan is a wise option. Involve management and workers. This will allow the traffic management plan to be considered from all aspects and will result in a better plan and increased compliance. Review it at regular intervals to ensure it still fits the workplace. Any change in the work may require a change in the traffic management plan. Planning traffic movements is an easy step towards keeping people safe.
How can Safewise help?
We work with organisations that need more health and safety knowledge, or more time, than
they have in-house. For more information, check the website www.safewise.co.nz