All vehicles, mobile plant or other mobile equipment have the capacity to cause harm to people or damage property. Vehicles entering, exiting and moving around construction sites are hazards that have the potential to cause injury or death, not only to construction workers but pedestrians who are members of the public.
With interactions between moving plant / vehicle and people leading to a number of serious injuries and fatalities, managing traffic is essential in minimising the risks around construction zones and providing a safe workplace.
In fact, according to Safe Work Australia statistics from 2008 to June 2013, hitting or being hit by moving objects accounted for 2945 of serious workers compensation claims. Moreover, from 2002 to 2014 there were 49 workplace fatalities due to collisions with moving objects, 20 of these involved collisions with cars or trucks. These figures take into account workers only and does not including injuries or fatalities to cyclists, motorcyclists, vehicle occupants or pedestrians.
Mobile Plant Incidents: Four Main Causes
According to the 2012 OHS Body of Knowledge Physical Hazards: Mobile Plant document published by the Safety Institute of Australia there are four categories that commonly contribute to incidents involving mobile-plant. These four categories are outlined below:
A person conducting a business or undertaking has a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, workers and others are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking. This duty includes implementing control measures to prevent people being injured by vehicle movements on construction sites.
Types of construction vehicle movements may include:
- Deliveries of plant/equipment by float, semi, tippers or other means
- Frequent regular traffic of Tradesperson/inspector/engineer vehicle (light vehicle)
- Movement on site of plant/equipment ( e.g. excavators, mobile cranes, loaders)
- Deliveries of concrete and/or AC bitumen from batching plants (reversing vehicles)
- Deliveries of materials, supplies to site ( loading and unloading areas)
- Delivery of over-dimension loads (long/wide).
Safe Work Australia outlines four key considerations for managing traffic on construction sites:
- keep pedestrians and vehicles apart, including on site and when vehicles enter and exit the workplace
- eliminate the need for vehicles to reverse or minimise the risks
- minimise vehicle movements
- use traffic signs
- ensure vehicles and pedestrians are visible to each other
- develop and follow a traffic management plan
A traffic management plan provides a vital tool that can assist businesses in outlining how risks associated with traffic movements on construction sites are to be managed. A Traffic Management Plan as outlined by Safe Work Australia may include the following details:
- Designated travel paths for vehicles, including entry and exit points, haul routes for debris or plant and materials, or traffic crossing other streams of traffic
- Pedestrian and traffic routes
- Designated delivery and loading and unloading areas
- Travel paths on routes remote from workplace, including places to turn around, dump material, access ramps and side roads
- How often and where vehicles and pedestrians interact
- Traffic control measures for each expected interaction, including drawings of the layout of barriers, walkways, signs and general arrangements to warn and guide traffic around, past or through the workplace or temporary hazard
- Requirements for special vehicles like large vehicles and mobile cranes
- Requirements for loading from side of road onto the site
- The responsibilities of people managing traffic at the workplace
- The responsibilities of people expected to interact with traffic at the workplace
- Instructions or procedures for controlling traffic including in an emergency
- How to implement and monitor the effectiveness of a traffic management plan
Controlling the Risks: Construction Traffic Management Plan
To assist businesses in managing traffic on construction sites, SafetyCulture has released a Construction Traffic Management Plan.
The Construction Traffic Management Plan documents and explains your organisations commitment to preventing injuries caused by power mobile plant / vehicle interactions with people, and to establish controls to minimise the risk of personal injury and damage due to those interactions.
The Construction Traffic Management Plan includes a policy, procedure, traffic management plan checklist and traffic management plan. The traffic management plan addresses the following areas: minimising vehicle movements, parking areas, reversing vehicles, plant/vehicle operation, temporary traffic control, temporary footpaths, emergency response and pedestrian access plus more.
To find out more and view a sample of the Traffic Management Plan click here