In the five year period to June 2015, 610 people were trapped by moving machinery/equipment or hit by moving objects. That’s more than two people a week. This startling statistic has prompted Worksafe Qld to commence a year-long audit campaign focusing on traffic management. The statewide endeavour will investigate businesses where there is mobile plant operating (e.g. forklifts, elevating work platforms, order pickers, earthmoving equipment, cranes) or other vehicle traffic (e.g. cars, trucks).
If this is your business, you may get a call from an inspector requesting to conduct an audit. Some of our clients have already been visited by inspectors who have observed work happening on site, questioned management and workers and asked to look at their documented safe systems of work (i.e. Traffic Management Plans).
To be prepared you should have a traffic management plan in place. The aim of a traffic management plan is to keep people and vehicles apart. This can be achieved by considering physical barriers or identifying dedicated zones where pedestrians and mobile plant operate.
When developing or reviewing your traffic management plan you should:
- Review incidents and near misses;
- Consult with workers and get their feedback; and
- Observe traffic flows and pedestrian behaviour.
Reviewing previous incident reports will give you some idea where there are problems. For instance, say a collision has occurred because someone was driving the wrong way, this may indicate that there are confusing traffic flow arrangements. Identifying the time of day that incidents have occurred may also indicate that there is poor visibility at a certain time of day.
Talking to your drivers, forklift operators and other staff can give you valuable insight into potential issues. Workers often notice things before an incident occurs. You may also want to document the processes they have put in place to avoid hazards.
Getting out and seeing for yourself the way deliveries are received, unloaded and loaded can enable you to see dangerous work practices or observe safe work practices which need to be communicated to the rest of the team. Signs of damage to structures can also indicate areas of concern which you may need to address.
The next step is to document all the information you have gathered into a policy document with a clear site map detailing your expectations for traffic management. As with any policy or procedure it should be followed up with some good training and supervision to ensure the requirements detailed within your traffic management plan are being followed.