Traffic Controller Safety

March 11th, 2011

Traffic controllers ensure the safety of others, but strategies to protect the traffic controllers themselves are often overlooked. A spate of incidents involving traffic controllers, including two fatalities on Queensland road works late last year, has triggered the assembly of a national task force intended to review the issue.

As of May 2011, traffic control companies and projects requiring traffic controllers will undergo intensive inspection to ensure adequate safety procedures and measures are in place.

Preparation and what to review

The task force’s aim is to save lives, not ruin businesses, so being adequately prepared and informed will ensure the review is successful in raising standards and saving lives.

In upcoming inspections, frequency of fatigue breaks and distribution of toilets on worksites will be targeted. Employers should facilitate 15-minute breaks every three hours, and requirements for workplace amenities can be found on local work cover websites..

Ultimately ensuring you comply with every aspect of the audit can only be achieved by conducting thorough research of requirements. Publications including Traffic Management for Construction or Maintenance Work Code of Practice 2008 are very useful resources for identifying areas that may be weak in overall workplace safety. The results and details of last year’s audit can be viewed here.

When and where traffic control is required

Understanding exactly under what circumstances traffic control services are required is essential for avoiding legal actions, injury and even death. When undertaking any work on or near the road, motorists and pedestrians are exposed to higher risks from having to negotiate changes to the road. In these instances, qualified traffic controllers are required to ensure necessary rules and regulations are adhered to.

Whether you are a customer looking to hire traffic controllers or a traffic control contract service, being aware of situations requiring the service allows effective implementation. The audit focuses specifically on the correct positioning of traffic control, so being informed on technical distance details will ensure a clear inspection report and effective traffic control.

Stay informed

Keeping a regular watch on regulations regarding traffic control is strongly encouraged, as isolated incidents can trigger changes to rules surrounding the practice. This was demonstrated when a plastic water-filled road barrier struck a traffic controller causing injury. Subsequent revisions were made to the guidelines, restricting use of the barriers to certain situations where no workers were present in the immediate vicinity. Regular checks online and purchasing the latest Workplace safety manuals are paramount to keeping informed and avoiding accidental transgressions of the rules.

Ensuring the above points are addressed and implemented in the workplace will result in a positive evaluation from traffic controller audit inspectors. A few small administrative and practical changes can mean the avoidance of serious legal and financial consequences.