WHS | Working around traffic

Traffic management


By Dean Wilson, Workplace Health and Safety Officer for TABMA

Working around traffic, including plant and vehicles, can pose significant health and safety risk within the workplace. Traffic management is the planning and control of traffic from one location to another. It focuses on creating and managing an orderly and efficient movement of persons and goods, creating a safe environment for all users. It includes the organisation, arrangement, guidance and control of both stationary and moving traffic, including pedestrians and all types of vehicles.

It is important that you identify all of the hazards associated with traffic in your workplace. Like every situation, there is going to be some workplaces that are very low-risk and have minimal traffic movement and then there is going to be many workplaces where that risk is much higher.

It is very important to talk to your workers and observe your workplace, then determine where the areas of high traffic are. Your workplace may have lots of vehicles, forklifts and load shifting equipment interacting with each other but specifically, you need to look for areas where there are high pedestrian and vehicle interaction. You particularly need to be looking for reversing vehicles, such as forklifts.

Forklifts are one of the highest risk vehicles in the workplace because they do spend a lot of their time reversing and they are often working in close proximity to pedestrians. You need to spend a decent amount of time looking at how your forklift operates and assess how likely it is that someone will come into contact with it.