Construction Traffic Management Plan - A 10 Step Guide

Date: June 1, 2023

The Traffic Management Problem.

Construction sites can be crowded because they require access for workers, deliveries, and equipment. In order to protect the workforce from fatal and serious accidents, a traffic management plan is crucial. 

Traffic management is one of the top Health & Safety risks in construction so, in this post, we'll look at ten examples of how to manage traffic during the construction phase. 

Construction sites are places where people and machinery frequently interact. And, even though plant and equipment is essential to help workers with tasks like digging and moving materials, it also possesses a risk. 

The reality is it there won't be a happy ending if a worker is struck by a machine on the move. 

It’s true to say that other industries have traffic movement issues. However, compared to most industries, construction sites can be more difficult when it comes to traffic management. 

The issue with construction is that each site is unique due to factors such as site layout, access points, requirements, tasks, equipment, the number of workers, and a variety of other factors. 

Additionally, different layout configurations are required for the same site at various stages of the project. So, now you have an idea why construction traffic management systems are critical to a safe working environment.

 

10 Solutions to traffic management problems.

 

1 Minimise Movement On Site.   

Even though traffic around construction sites is generally unavoidable, it should be minimized as much as possible. Let’s face it, accident prevention up front is always better than accident cure after the event.

Do vehicles for employees need to be on the site? Possibly not. Would arranging the site's layout so that storage space is near the entrance help lessen the volume of traffic that must pass through the area? Most likely, yes. 

There should be as little movement as possible of any vehicles on the site. Using one-way systems and creating turning circles to prevent reversing can be a great way to increase safety because reversing is typically where visibility problems and fatal accidents can happen.

 

2. Ensure Site Plant Is Kept Away From Hazards.

Although, wherever possible, you should ensure that your traffic plan permits safe and level traffic routes until the project is completed, more often than not, construction sites do not have the luxury of a finished road or traffic route during the construction phase. 

This means that drivers of machines and vehicles on your site need to be aware of more than just people. Why? Because there’s always a risk of vehicles overturning, which can be created by excavations, uneven terrain, or unstable ground. 

However, that's not the only challenge a construction site faces. There are also a number of risks that could involve machinery and plant. 

Remember that construction sites are usually busy places with hazards such as overhead cables, services, watercourses, temporary construction elements, new structures, skips, and waste materials. 

Therefore, sufficient consideration should be given to these hazards when planning your vehicle access and egress routes

 

3. Keep Non Essential People Away From Plant And Machinery.

The easiest way to stop people being hit by a moving vehicle on your site is to keep pedestrians and vehicles as far apart as possible. 

Granted, this is a lot easier said than done, but by focusing attention on areas where people are unavoidably moving to and from their work areas, greater control can be maintained. 

It’s worth noting that the majority of construction transport accidents result from the inadequate separation of pedestrians and vehicles. No one is expecting to come into contact with an excavator when they are heading to the canteen. 

And it’s a fact that people are more likely to come into contact with vehicles when they are maneuvering or moving on or off the site. So, without doubt, unmanaged traffic routes are high-risk places, but planned traffic routes enable people and machines to be safely kept apart. 

This is why separate pedestrian and vehicle entrances, access routes, are advisable wherever possible, with safe and clear crossing places clearly identified.

“Struck by moving vehicle accounted for 23 fatal injuries to workers in 2021/22, representing 19% of the total number of deaths over the year.”

 

4. There's No Need For Speed.

The faster plant and the vehicles move, the less time drivers have to react and the less chance pedestrians have to move out of the way. 

Although it should be a top priority to keep site traffic and pedestrians apart, there will frequently be crossing points and other locations where they might, or even have to, come together. 

After evaluating a particular area, choose an appropriate speed limit. Use highly visible signs to make the speed limit known; site speed limits should also be a subject highlighted in inductions and constantly monitored.

 

5. The Importance Of Visibility.

It’s fairly obvious that excavations, uneven ground, additional plant and equipment, additional structures, waterways, and materials can pose a challenge to traffic management planning. 

And it’s also obvious that the ability to see them is absolutely critical. Good visibility is essential for safe traffic movement on site, which means that all potential hazards should be clearly and appropriately signed. 

Maneuverability and movement on the site can be assisted by mirrors, cameras, alarms, and banksmen. Pedestrians on your site should wear high-viz clothing at all times. There might also be a need for additional lighting during the months with dark mornings and afternoons.

 

6. Be Prepared For Change.

Due to the nature of the work done on construction sites, the site layout is likely to change as buildings and other structures progress.

Therefore, it is possible for on-site plant and vehicle movements to become dangerous if your traffic management plan is not updated or is not in place at all. 

As the project progresses and the site layout changes, it is imperative that you keep your traffic management plans current.

 

7 Train For Success.

All plant operators must be competent and physically fit. When workers attempt to operate vehicles they lack the necessary training for, accidents may result. 

Only after competence has been verified and the appropriate training has been given, should permission be granted to operate plant and/or machinery on-site. 

Additionally, training is also required for banksmen and signallers, who assist drivers and direct traffic movements as well.

 

8 Information Is Key.

You have a plan of action, access routes, and a speed limit. The next step is to make sure everyone is aware of it.  

The traffic plan and site rules should be understood by both drivers and pedestrians. You can communicate your traffic rules using inductions, toolbox talks, instructions, and safety briefings. 

You can also use traffic light systems, speed checks, speed limit signs, and road signs around the site as well. 

Display a site map with traffic routes in the site offices, canteens, and mark those routes with danger signs and flags, and include traffic management in the general induction.

 

9. Maintain clear routes.

You’ve probably heard the old saying about waiting for a bus and then several arriving all at once. The same can occur with deliveries, especially during the setup stage and peak build periods.

To manage vehicle movements safely, schedule deliveries and other vehicle movements well in advance. The site will be less congested (and safer) the fewer vehicles there are on site at once. 

Keep your access routes clear to prevent drivers from looking for an alternative way around because everyone likes a shortcut and no accident is ever going to happen to them (so they think). 

One of the key areas HSE inspectors focus on during site visits is that sites are well organised and walkways and access routes are free of obstructions. Don’t disappoint them.

 

10 Inspect and Maintain.

For obvious reasons, all on-site equipment, including vehicles, must be safely maintained. As part of that maintenance, built-in controls like guards, brakes, and alarms must be checked to ensure they function properly.

It is a legal requirement that plant and machinery be maintained and in good working order. Therefore, make sure your plant and vehicles are regularly inspected, maintained, and records kept so that it is safe for them to be used on site. 

Don't let standards slip once other project demands take over; maintaining your traffic management plan is an ongoing requirement.

Get banksman/traffic marshals' feedback on potential updates and apply as necessary. Make sure your plan is effective by monitoring and reviewing it frequently.

 

Finally.

If you apply the ten tips above you will be well on the way to having a good working traffic management plan and you’ll help people on your site to avoid being another traffic injury statistic.

Kate Hewitt - Project Manager

If you’re responsible for Health & Safety on your site and would like help with your traffic management plan you can get in touch by just clicking this link https://hc-services.uk/contact/ 

Call us 01538 711777 

Or Email hello@hc-services.uk

 

 

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