In this video, we’re going to be talking about Workplace Health and Safety Traffic Management. This is an extremely important topic, as it does not only ensure that your workers feel secure, but if done correctly, it will result in less incidents in the workplace and increased safety for everyone involved.
Identify Hazards Associated to Traffic
It’s important that you identify all of the hazards associated with traffic in your workplace. Like every other situation, there’s going to be some workplaces that are very low-risk, have minimal traffic movement and there’s going to be many workplaces where that risk is much higher.
You need to talk to your workers and observe your workplace then determine where the areas of high traffic are. Your workplace may have lots of vehicles, forklifts and load shifting equipment interacting with each other but specifically you need to look for areas where there’s high pedestrian and vehicle interaction. You particularly need to be looking for reversing vehicles, such as forklifts.
Forklifts are one of the highest risk vehicles out there because they do spend a lot of their time reversing and they are often working in close proximity to pedestrians. So, you need to spend a decent amount of time looking at how your forklift operates and assess how likely it is that someone will come into contact with it.
Risk Assessment for Traffic Management
You want to make sure that you incorporate traffic management into the risk assessment for other areas.
- You might have a risk assessment for your dock and traffic management must be a part of that
- You may have a risk assessment for a piece of equipment like a forklift and traffic management must be a part of that
- You may be using Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS), which traffic management needs to be included in.
When it comes to traffic management, they are incorporated into all the other risk assessments that we do.
Risk Control for Traffic Management
When it comes to risk control, the ideal risk control is elimination of course, and here you’re looking at having some sort of system where you have full separation of your pedestrians and vehicles. That’s pretty hard and really unlikely for most work places.
After that, you’re going to look at some engineering options. You might try and have some sort of physical barrier between your vehicles, such as your forklifts, trucks or people. Bollards are a common technique used to achieve this, as well as geofencing which is becoming quite popular these days. Geo fencing is where you have GPS embedded into the vehicle and it physically will stop the vehicle when it goes past a pre-designated line or space.
If you can’t completely separate your pedestrians and vehicles via engineering options, you do need to look at administrative controls. Here we’re going to be talking about things like traffic management plans, so you’re going to have specific zones where forklifts operate and particular walkways for example, where pedestrians are able to walk. Workers need to be trained in this and be aware of all of their walkways.
You might also look at other options like safety devices on your vehicles, such as:
- Reverse beepers
- Blue lights on forklifts
Finally, if you cannot implement any of the above controls, you need to consider using personal protective equipment (PPE). The most obvious type of PPE is hi-vis work wear. Pretty much everyone has hi-vis on these days but this is one area where I think it does actually make a big difference. It’s just making sure that the pedestrians are a little bit more visible than they otherwise would be in the workplace.
- Consult with workers and conduct a risk assessment
- Use the hierarchy of controls to reduce pedestrian and vehicle interaction
- Use administrative controls such as Traffic Management Plans where the vehicles and pedestrians cannot be separated
If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to contact us through the website or reach out to me on LinkedIn.