“It is important to understand that the achievement of a safe site does not happen overnight. It is a journey that takes place over many iterations of risk assessment, control, and review.” – John, Traffic Management Consultant for Kenex Linemarking.
What is the purpose of creating a Traffic Management Plan (TMP)?
All commercial businesses in Australia and New Zealand are required by the WHS Legislation to have a traffic management plan in place if there are any interactions between pedestrians, vehicles, or powered mobile plant on the site. Significant penalties may be levied by the authorities should a business have an incident that results in serious injury or death.
Manufacturing and warehousing sites usually operate forklifts, reach trucks, order pickers, and other types of mobile plant. A traffic management plan is a document that describes the risk controls that have been put in place to prevent any injury or damage resulting from a collision between pedestrians, vehicles, and mobile plant.
For best results, a traffic management plan must be based on a carefully considered risk assessment of the traffic interactions that occur on the site. The risk assessment will document the existing traffic controls that are in place and consider the type and frequency of traffic movements throughout the working day, the placement of walkways, speed limits, the training of workers, company policies and procedures, etc.
The traffic risk controls aim to create as much separation between pedestrians, vehicles and mobile plant as practicable.
The traffic management plan serves as a training document for new and existing personnel and should be reviewed periodically when site operations change or every 3 years.
When do clients reach out to create a TMP?
Large publicly listed companies tend to be aware of their legal oblations to manage the risks at their work sites and tend to take a proactive approach to risk management. These companies tend to have good systems for monitoring workplace safety though hazard and incident reporting systems that drive a corrective actions process. They understand that the creation of a legislation compliant traffic management plan is a time-consuming process that is best undertaken by traffic management professionals.
Small privately owned companies may not be fully aware of the obligations under the legislation and often we get called in to provide traffic management services after an incident, or after SafeWork have visited the site and identified that no traffic management system has been put in place. Small businesses typically do not have the skills or experience in-house to create a carefully risk assessed traffic management plan.
What is commonly seen during the audit process?
Common traffic risks that we identify include;
• Speeding vehicles or speeding mobile plant on the site
• Workers standing or walking too close to operating mobile plant
• Truck drivers not retreating to a designated driver safe zone while their truck is being loaded/unloaded, typically moving side curtains or gates while a forklift is operating around their truck
• The lack of a minimum 3 metre separation rule between pedestrians and operating mobile plant
• An absence of clearly line marked pedestrian walkways, and a lack of walkway barriers, gates etc to control pedestrian movements
• Unprotected computer workstation areas within the factory or warehouse
• Order pick and pack areas where mobile plant and pedestrian workers operate in close proximity to each other
What are the benefits of creating a TMP?
The process of risk assessing the traffic movements on a worksite provides the company with an opportunity to identify its traffic risks and consider additional controls. Further, the creation of a traffic management plan gives the company an opportunity to engage with employees to foster ownership of the risk controls by shop floor personnel.
Are there differences in types of TMPs?
Traffic risks are unique to each business and are a product of the nature of business operations. That said there are substantial differences in the traffic risks between industrial sites versus retail sites. Industrial sites usually operate mobile plant and offer the opportunity to train and manage the safety behaviour of workers. Retail sites need to deal with shoppers and their cars in retail carparks with varying levels of driver skill and compliance with site signs.
In all cases the aim of good traffic management is to make traffic controls as intuitive and visible as possible in order to achieve compliance.
What can clients expect as a result from Kenex’s TMPs?
The process of risk assessing the traffic movements on a site will usually identify additional risk controls aimed at making the site safer. The client will review the suggested risk controls and develop a plan to implement the new controls. Once implemented, worker training in the new traffic management plan can be undertaken and the performance of the new controls and traffic safety monitored and reviewed to ensure that the safety objectives are being met.
An effective traffic management plan needs to be understood and supported by the entire workforce with management leading by example. Line marking, speed controls, barriers, and the like can only go so far, hence management needs to develop and maintain a strong safety culture within the workplace.