When considering “traffic” – specifically on construction sites; it refers to the interaction of vehicles, mobile plant (machinery) and construction workers’ movement that occurs on a daily basis. An assessment must be conducted of the construction site so that areas could be identified where pedestrians are exposed to the risk of a collision with a mobile plant. 

Traffic management on a construction site with many vehicles does not only influence the productivity of the construction workers but also their safety. When a site does not regulate the traffic, it could influence the movement or removal of materials itself, congestion of vehicle movement and slowing down the production on-site when a clear traffic route has not been identified. Routes should be clearly marked so that vehicle operators know where they can travel and that pedestrians have an indication of safe passage on site.  

According to the Occupational Health and Safety act no 85 of 1993 – Construction Regulation 23(2)(b)(c)(d) it is required that every construction site is organized in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles can move safely and without risk. There should be a sufficient amount of traffic routes, in a suitable position and acceptable size. 

Reduce the risk of collision 

  • Ensure that when a construction employee operates the vehicle, the operator has received appropriate training with proof of competency and has a medical certificate of fitness to operate construction vehicles. 
  • All employees must be aware of the suitable traffic routes on a construction site and suitable walkways must be placed on the site with the correct barricades separating the walkway from the traffic route. 
  • Vehicles should be equipped with an automatic acoustic reversing alarm as well as an acoustic warning device that could be activated by the operator. 
  • All construction vehicles are in good working conditions and that it’s inspected on a daily basis prior to use by the operator or an authorized person. 

Develop a traffic management plan

When developing a traffic plan, the current traffic flow of the construction site should be taken into consideration, this could be achieved by mapping out all possible routes. One important aspect to look at is to identify collision points by mapping out pedestrians’ regular walking routes and seeing where they overlap with the construction vehicles. Entry, exit, pick-up, and drop-off points should be taken into account. 

Thereafter, identify the safest routes to be taken by the mobile plant, vehicles and construction workers and clearly mark it on the site plans. Risk controls are also important, this includes but is not limited to exclusion zones, signage, acoustic reversing warnings, speed limiting devices, spotters, convex mirrors and one-way traffic. Every traffic route, where necessary, should be clearly indicated by the correct and suitable signage. 

And finally, when changes are implemented to the traffic management system, as mentioned above, ensure that it is incorporated into the site inductions for new workers and visitors. All employees on site should be aware of these procedures when changes are implemented.

Ensuring that these aspects are executed on a project or site, could reduce the risk of a fatality involving construction vehicles or mobile plants. It is important to take a look at a busy site since there is constant movement of vehicles and an incident could happen in the blink of an eye. Makes sure to have your site as safe as possible. 

Creating a world that’s Simply Safe

We make construction and operational health and safety simple to apply, follow and maintain for our clients.

Contact us to find out more:

Christof Lourens

CEO Cairnmead Industrial Consultants (Pty) Ltd

Tel: 012 346 5752 | Email: christof@cairnmead.co.za

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