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Traffic Control in Construction Zones: Best Practices for Safety

The main reason for traffic control in construction zones is to manage risks that can arise from vehicle and pedestrian movement at the construction site. A traffic control plan is essential to minimise the possibility of traffic-related accidents on the site. “Traffic” includes cars, trucks and mobile machinery such as forklifts, as well as pedestrians like visitors and workers. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best practices of traffic control to keep construction zones safe.

Legislation regulating traffic control in construction zones

Let’s first briefly look at whether there are regulations and legislation monitoring traffic control in construction zones.

Some Australians think that “Safe Work Australia” is the regulating body for traffic control in construction zones. However, although “Safe Work Australia” is a Government statutory agency with one of its responsibilities the improvement of work health and safety, it is not a national policy body and not a regulator of work safety. The Commonwealth, states and territories regulate and enforce work safety laws, including traffic control in construction zones in their jurisdiction.

Practices to minimise traffic risks in construction zones

There are various things you can do regarding traffic control for safety in construction zones. Let’s look at four proven practices to help you with effective and safe traffic control in your construction zone

1. Keep vehicles and pedestrians apart

Usually, you can avoid accidents in construction zones by adequately separating pedestrians and vehicles. You can achieve this through careful planning and effective control of traffic.

The following will help you to keep vehicles and pedestrians apart:

  • Provide separate pedestrian and vehicle exit and entry gates and provide clear signs where walkways cross roadways.
  • Ensure that pedestrian walkways are firm, level and well-drained.
  • Ensure that no obstructions are placed in the walkways forcing pedestrians to step onto the vehicle route or vice versa.
  • If possible, install barriers between the walkway and the road.

2. Plan vehicle movements

With good planning, you can minimise vehicle movement around a site. To achieve this you can

  • provide workforce and visitor parking away from the work area;
  • control vehicle and pedestrian entry to the work area, and
  • plan the layout of the site in such a way that delivery vehicles do not have to cross the site.

3. Enhance visibility

You can consider the following:

  • Install mirrors, CCTV cameras and/or reversing alarms to help drivers and plant operators be aware of movement all around the vehicle or machine.
  • Use trained plant and vehicle marshals to control manoeuvres in the Zone.
  • Workers, and if possible all visitors, should wear high-visibility clothing.

4. Avoid the need for vehicles to reverse

As vehicle reversing might cause fatal accidents it is always good policy to plan the driving routes in the zone in such a way that unnecessary reversing will not be needed. One way to minimise the need for reversing is to plan a one-way road system in the construction zone.

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