The implementation of traffic management programme ensures the safety of traffic in and around shopping centres. Traffic in this article include customers, workers, business owners, pedestrians, forklifts, delivery trucks, shopping trolley collection vehicles, and passenger vehicles.
Interactions between members of the public and vehicles in workplaces often lead to injuries and death. The lives of workers and pedestrians are at risk when they are in the powered mobile plant and vehicle’s line of fire.
According to the Hierarchy of hazard control, if elimination and substitution of hazards are not possible then the engineering controls are the next best option. In terms of traffic management in workplaces, the best examples of engineering controls are safety barriers.
This article will cover how workplace accidents are minimised by implementing a traffic management programme with the use of safety barriers and related safety equipment.
What is Traffic Management?
In general, Traffic Management refers to the supervision, direction, and control of pedestrians and all vehicular traffic around a specific site. For example, a construction zone implements a Traffic Management programme to ensure the safety of the general public and construction workers.
To know more about Traffic Management in and around shopping centres, Safe Works Australia has a downloadable guide in a PDF and Word document form.
We won’t be addressing the guide here. Instead, we’ll focus more on how Traffic Management can be improved. Likewise, we’ll also discuss which appropriate safety barrier and related equipment to use for specific safety hazards in and around shopping centres.
How to Improve Traffic Management in Shopping Centres
Why is there a need for Traffic Management to improve?
You see, Traffic Management in some workplaces are poorly planned or worse, no longer enforced. Similarly, other workplaces have their engineering controls but aren’t efficient enough to provide a safe working environment.
Here are 5 key factors of traffic management that need improvement:
1. Around the Shopping Centre
The monitoring of incidents that are causing damage to property and vehicles is necessary. Also, an inspection of the design of the traffic flow around the shopping centre is crucial to the discovery of blind corners and tight spaces.
If the report indicates that the damages to vehicles and property, not to mention the harm caused to workers and pedestrians, were done by the drivers of external vehicles; then speed reduction methods should be applied.
And speaking of engineering controls, if speed reduction methods aren’t enough, flexible bollards provide a second-line of protection for pedestrians, workers, and property.
Also, expandable barriers are excellent in controlling traffic around shopping centres. They are often used to redirect external vehicles away from workers and pedestrians.
However, does the report show that internal vehicles such as forklifts, delivery trucks, and trailers are the ones causing damage to property?
If the answer is yes, then a major change in the Traffic Management plan is imperative.
2. Inside the Shopping Centre
There should be a limit of how many vehicles are allowed to operate in a specific workplace to avoid collisions and damage. A provision of adequate space for each mobile plant or vehicle so they can operate properly without causing damage to other mobile plant, vehicles, and property is crucial.
Whenever possible, the same type of mobile plant or internal vehicle should only be allowed to operate in one specific area. Why is this so?
To put it simply, two forklift operators in a relatively small area don’t have to guess how the other operator will manoeuvre his machine. They both anticipate each other’s next move and thus collisions are less likely to happen.
There is no guarantee that powered mobile plants, at some point in time, won’t hit columns and walls. Corner guards and wall protection barriers prevent structural damage caused by mobile plants and vehicles in high-traffic areas such as shopping centre loading docks, storage areas, and car parks.
3. Shopping Centre Loading Docks
High-risk areas such as loading docks require high-level Traffic Management as workers and pedestrians interact with trailers, trucks, and forklifts. Loading docks are extremely dangerous.
Hence, there should be physical barriers, designated loading docks, guard rails, or swing boom gates to separate pedestrians from powered mobile plants and vehicles. Moreover, the installation of security gatehouses within the premises is necessary to keep pedestrians from entering high-risk areas.
4. Shopping Centre Car Parks
Car parks in shopping centres have their share of notoriety regarding traffic-related accidents. A recent incident involving car park wheel stops is another reason why Traffic Management in a shopping centre needs improvement.
According to a recent post from the Gold Coast Bulletin on the 15th of September, 2019; a widowed elderly woman sued the City Council after sustaining multiple injuries resulting from a fall. The unpainted concrete wheel stops on the said car park blended well into the concrete floor. They almost looked invisible especially to pedestrians who were preoccupied with what they’re doing.
Therefore, the use of high-visibility wheel stops in car parks is a must. Concrete wheel stops break after impact and can no longer serve their purpose. They don’t meet the Australian Standard for wheel stops at all.
Car park managers should choose wheel stops that are made from recycled durable rubber, especially the ones with the yellow, reflective panels.
5. The General Public
Visitors who want to conduct business or an undertaking inside the workplace should only be allowed when there are no vehicles in the area. Or there should be a special area where they can conduct their business far from high-traffic areas.
Nevertheless, the presence of physical barriers is a necessity in all workplaces; it is the only solution for a safer segregation between the general public and vehicles.
Equip Your Workplace with Verge Safety Barriers for Better Traffic Management
Improve the safety level of your workplace. Protect your customers, workers, business owners, pedestrians, and your business with Verge Safety Barriers today. Contact us now and we’ll discuss what systems will work best for you.