A traffic management plan is an important tool for any organisation with a mix of people, equipment and vehicles at their place of work or on a worksite. Its aim is to create a safe working environment by planning and controlling how vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and plant, such as forklifts, travel around a particular location.
A traffic management plan – also known as a workplace traffic management plan – forms a critical part of an organisation’s overall safety management plan as it focuses on reducing traffic hazards and preventing injury and collisions. A safe working environment provides the backbone for successful business operations. As a result, well-designed traffic management plans are crucial for a range of businesses including those in warehousing and manufacturing, shopping centres, mining and construction.
To be effective, a traffic management plan should have the following five features:
1. Hazard identification – a thorough identification of all traffic management risks should be conducted as a first step. This may include monitoring the movement of people, vehicles and equipment at the work site, as well as reviewing incident and injury logs (including near misses) to pinpoint traffic management movements that may require control measures. A checklist to help identify hazards can be found on the Safe Work Australia website. Once hazards have been identified, a risk analysis should be conducted and included in the plan.
2. Control measures – a good traffic management plan details the measures that have been put in place to manage the risks identified. Ideally, the controls should consider more than traffic movements. They should include all aspects of traffic management necessary for a safe work site. This may consist of installing signage to remind drivers and pedestrians about safe work procedures, designating vehicle pathways, establishing pedestrian crossings, ensuring there is adequate lighting, wearing high visibility clothing, setting speed limits, and installing barriers and bollards where necessary.
3. Workforce involvement – the workforce at the site are an excellent source of information when developing traffic management plans. Ask them about potential hazards and traffic management problems they have encountered and include these in the hazard identification process. It is also important the workforce receive regular and ongoing training about the traffic management plan, including being informed about any changes made to it.
4. Detailed plan – the traffic management plan needs to thoroughly record all aspects of how traffic risks and hazards are to be managed. It should also include the traffic management responsibilities of people on the worksite, details on how to deal with incidents and emergencies resulting from traffic incidents, and how the traffic management plan will be communicated to staff and form part of ongoing training.
5. Reviewed and evaluated regularly – a quality traffic management plan is one which is checked on a regular basis for its effectiveness and updated when needed. It should be an active document. It is critical that control measures are working and that any changes to working practices are reflected in the plan.