Workplace Traffic Management
Managing warehouse traffic is an important part of ensuring the workplace is without risks to health and safety.
Vehicles including powered mobile plant moving in and around a workplace, reversing, loading and unloading are frequently linked with death and injuries to workers and members of the public.
During the 2010 – 2014 period alone there were 91 fatalities recorded in Australia as a result of moving plant in the workplace.
The most effective way to protect pedestrians is to eliminate traffic hazards. This can be achieved by identifying the hazards in the workplace, assessing the risks, and designing the layout of the workplace to eliminate or reduce the interactions between pedestrians and vehicles.
This can be done by carefully planning and controlling vehicle operations, moving plant and pedestrian movements at the workplace.
Key issues to consider for managing traffic in workplace include
- safety of pedestrians and visitors;
- persons working with vehicles including trucks, vans and powered mobile plant;
- the layout of the work area;
- control measures such as signs, warning devices, line marking, bollards, safety barriers.
Traffic Management Plans
Each workplace should develop a traffic management plan that explains how risks will be managed at the workplace, including details of:
- designated travel paths for vehicles including entry and exit points or traffic crossing other streams of traffic;
- pedestrian and traffic routes;
- how often powered mobile plant and pedestrians interact;
- traffic control measures for each expected interaction including drawings of the layout of barriers, walkways, signs and general arrangements to warn and guide traffic around, past, or through the workplace or temporary hazard;
- the responsibilities of people managing traffic at the workplace;
- the responsibilities of people expected to interact with traffic at the workplace;
- instructions or procedures for controlling traffic including in an emergency; and
- how to implement and monitor the effectiveness of a traffic management plan.
The traffic management plan should be monitored and reviewed regularly including after an incident to ensure it is effective and takes into account changes at the workplace.
Workers should be aware of and understand the traffic management plan and receive information, instruction, training and supervision. Workplace inductions should include the requirements of the traffic management plan.
Layout of the Work Area
Consider the layout of the workplace and control measures to separate pedestrians and vehicles including:
- Minimising the cross flow of traffic, intersections and eliminating blind spots;
- Clearly defining and positioning ‘customer pick-up’ parking areas so they can be accessed without crossing driveways or loading dock vehicle paths;
- Clearly marking pedestrian walkways or using temporary physical barriers to separate pedestrians from roadways and powered mobile plant operating areas where pedestrians and vehicles often interact based on speed limits, stopping distances and efficient workflow;
- Defining areas where powered mobile plant is used as ‘pedestrian exclusion zones’ and excluding powered mobile plant from pedestrian walkways and work areas;
- Using line markings and marker posts in docking areas to indicate distances from the dock e.g. 1 metre increments advising drivers of proximity to the dock to reduce the need for assisted reversing;
- Clearly indicating:
- traffic flow with line markings or signs;
- loadshifting equipment parking areas;
- driver designated safety zones;
- pedestrian exclusion zones;
- car parking areas;
- keep clear zones; and
- speed limits and speed inhibiting devices like speed humps.
Safety of Pedestrian and Visitors
Within the workplace, the risk can be reduced by separating vehicles, mobile plant and pedestrians by:
- Installing physical barriers or fences to keep pedestrians out of areas where powered mobile plant or other vehicles operate and to keep powered mobile plant out of areas where pedestrians work;
- Designating separate visitor parking areas;
- Implementing and enforcing minimum Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements for the workplace;
- Displaying signs to warn of powered mobile plane and vehicle movements;
- Using separate pedestrian access doors at vehicle entries and exits into buildings;
- Using safety railings or bollards to prevent pedestrians stepping out into traffic from ‘blind spots’;
- Using safety measures like walkways and safety zones to protect drivers once they have left delivery trucks and vans;
- Using engineering controls like interlocked gates, zoning systems, proximity alarms and speed shields;
- Installing mirrors, reversing cameras, sensors or alarms to help drivers see movement around the vehicle.
- Installing visual warning devices like flashing lights and high-visibility markings for powered mobile plant.
- Implementing safe systems of work so loads are not carried forward where they impair clear vision.
- Ensure loadshifting equipment has its own clearly marked parking and recharging areas. Design work processes so no loadshifting equipment is required to park on pedestrian walkways.
- Separating designated areas for workers and for vehicles. Where separate areas are temporary e.g. when loading vehicles or unloading containers, using temporary high visibility physical barriers should be considered;
- Developing and enforcing right of way procedures which clearly indicate who must give way;
- Displaying site maps of the workplace to indicate traffic flow.