Traffic control on and around a worksite has two key aims: to manage risks and to ensure the work gets done quickly but properly. Neither aim can be achieved in isolation. This is why traffic management is an important process. It ensures the safety of everyone while reducing the time and money spent on any one project.
So, let’s have a look at some of the specific reasons why worksite traffic control is so important.
So everyone knows what is happening
From workers to drivers to pedestrians, everyone needs to know what is happening on and around a worksite. However, good traffic management is about ensuring everyone understands the rules that are applicable to them and aren’t overburdened by extraneous rules and regulations.
As a rule of thumb, everyone needs to know where they can and cannot go safely. For workers, this may include clearly marking high-risk areas and advising what safety measures should be taken, like wearing a hard hat.
Pedestrians and drivers need to be informed about where machinery enters and exits the site. They may also need to be directed to stop when machinery is entering or leaving the construction zone.
Alternatively, pedestrians and drivers may need to be directed to take a detour around the site if machinery is frequently moving or there is an ongoing risk around the site. This could be when a crane is being used and its path goes over the nearby road and footpath.
Further, drivers need to be informed of changed conditions. This could include changes to the road’s surface, closed lanes and reduced speeds. By informing drivers of these changed conditions, they can proceed with caution. In doing so, risks to others are reduced.
If drivers fail to take proper caution despite being informed, for instance driving over 40km/h in a construction zone, fines of over $1000 can be issued.
Pedestrians also need to be alerted to changed conditions for their own safety. As noted above, they may need to take a detour, such as crossing to the other side of the street to avoid overhead hazards.
Construction work can often create tripping hazards for pedestrians. For example, footpath repairs often require temporary resurfacing or bridging, and this can change the walking conditions and create potential trip hazards for pedestrians. Effective traffic management would clearly indicate the hazards, minimise the risk and even provide alternative routes for people with disabilities.
So delays can be reduced
Although it may seem that some methods to manage risks result in delays, they are ultimately designed to ensure the job is finished as efficiently as possible. Traffic management is aimed at mitigating risk and ensuring the safe and steady flow of traffic.
Reducing speed limits to 40kmph around a worksite may seem like it’s slowing traffic and increasing delays. However, by slowing traffic and reducing the risk of accident, it’s actually reducing the risk of much greater delays caused by traffic accidents.
Any accident could not only affect traffic passing the worksite, but could also damage machinery or close down the worksite, leading to delays in the project.
Traffic management is an important necessity as we continue to build, develop and repair structures and infrastructure. From new high-rise buildings to retarmacking a country road, there needs to be a happy balance between safety and efficiency.