Workplaces with high traffic volumes and pedestrian movement should consider developing a workplace health and safety (WHS) plan. It will help them meet their responsibilities and obligations under workplace health and safety laws. Workplaces can reduce risk by separating or managing the interaction between pedestrians and powered mobile plants or vehicles. It will result in a safer working environment and improved productivity.
A workplace traffic management plan must be drafted for any business with vehicles (cars, trucks, forklifts) on the premises. A risk assessment should be performed by mapping the routes, identifying hazards, and implementing the necessary controls. It may include putting in barriers and bollards (there are both steel and flexible options) around high-risk areas or ensuring walkways are delineated with floor lines or safety or traffic signs. Other risk controls could include reversing beepers, speed-limiting devices, spotters, convex mirrors and one-way traffic systems.
Effective workplace traffic management is especially important for people working on or near vehicles. It includes drivers, pedestrians and other people who use a car on the site. PCBUs are generally obligated to ensure workers, contractors and any other person on the premises are not exposed to harm, including through collisions with vehicles. Using license plate recognition software is a clever approach that can help enhance both road safety and traffic management. They are built inside road cameras to watch real-time traffic and identify vehicles of interest, like those driving too fast, parking improperly, or violating other traffic laws.
A traffic management plan is important for people traveling on foot at a workplace, as these individuals are called pedestrians. It can include the general workforce, visiting workers and contractors. A traffic management plan will ensure that vehicles and pedestrians are separated safely and that the walkways are marked to prevent collisions or overruns between these two groups of people.
All workplaces should have designated walking paths around their premises to direct pedestrian movement and prevent them from entering areas where cars are operating or stored to minimize the chance of a pedestrian being struck by vehicles. The layout of these areas should be based on the site’s risk assessment and include any potentially dangerous points where pedestrians or vehicles may collide. All pedestrians should be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment, such as high visibility clothing, to help them to be seen in the dark and when the weather is poor.
It is also important to ensure that vehicle loading and unloading occurs away from the main traffic flow and in a safe location, such as on a car park curb where it is easier for vehicle drivers to see pedestrians. Likewise, forklift operations should be conducted in a safe location and only under the direction of a bank man or signaler. It will reduce the likelihood of vehicles reversing into pedestrians or other employees and damage.
When most people think of traffic management, they think of ways to prevent vehicles from colliding with each other or causing injury. However, there is also a need to manage machinery such as forklifts, which can weigh up to 4 tonnes and cause serious harm if not operated properly. All employees, including contractors and visitors, should be advised of the workplace’s forklift traffic management plan during induction. They should also be adequately trained in using the machinery before being authorized to work in areas where forklifts operate. Warehouses and other industrial job sites often feature pedestrian and vehicle traffic, which can lead to accidents if not carefully managed. For example, some of the most common accidents involve pedestrians being crushed or pinned by forklifts. These incidents can result in severe injuries or even fatalities.
Keeping vehicles and pedestrian routes separate is important, using the appropriate signage and markings on the floor. Installing physical barriers in areas where forklifts are operating is also a good idea to ensure that pedestrians do not enter the path of travel or get caught underneath trucks. Other safety precautions include horns, flashing lights and high-volume alarms to warn drivers of pedestrians in the area. Employers should also practice good housekeeping, removing hazards that could obstruct vehicles or pedestrian paths and cleaning up spills promptly. In addition, they should encourage their workers to avoid distractions from handheld electronic devices, hands-free cell phones or headphones, and make sure they wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
Most traffic incidents involve collisions between pedestrians and powered equipment (vehicles, forklifts or utility carts) reversing or moving on the work site. To control these risks, PCBUs should consider their work site design, layout and vehicle movements and implement appropriate controls. These may include a combination of measures, including barriers, signage and markings.
Several of these controls are more effective than others in controlling specific traffic hazards, and it is important to evaluate them to decide which ones will best suit your work site. It includes considering any resource or building consent requirements that may apply to your work site and incorporating these into the overall traffic management plan. The first step in reducing collisions is to communicate rules and procedures around traffic routes and no-go zones. It can be done through toolbox talks, inductions or training for workers and other people who have a reason to enter the traffic zones. It’s also a good idea to train lifting device operators on their duty of care when entering areas where they can interact with traffic. As a PCBU, you must ensure that the health and safety of other people at your workplace are not put at risk by any work you do (as far as is reasonably practicable).