Moving vehicles and machinery are risky – a good traffic management plan keeps everyone safer

How are workers and others harmed?

Workers and others could be harmed by:

  • being trapped between a vehicle and a structure
  • vehicles colliding with each other or a structure
  • being hit by a vehicle
  • items that fall off vehicles (unsecured or unstable loads)
  • falling from a vehicle.  

Other things to take into account include:

  • Drivers/operators/pedestrians affected by drugs, alcohol or fatigue (extreme tiredness).
  • Drivers/operators/pedestrians affected by medical events (for example, heart attacks).
  • Environmental conditions (slippery or unstable ground, low light, fog).
  • Mechanical failure (such as faulty steering or bad brakes).
  • Driver distractions (such as, cell-phones, noise, work pressures, home pressures).
  • Vehicles operated outside their limits or capabilities – the wrong vehicle for the job.
  • Anything that might block the drivers’ view. 

When a person is hit by a truck or other vehicle or equipment, or a vehicle or equipment hits something else, the consequences can be severe for the person and for the business. For example:

  • The person may suffer crush injuries or fractures, or die.
  • A business may have to deal with property damage, reputational damage, service disruption, and increased insurance costs. 

What can you do?

First you must always eliminate the risk where you’re reasonably able to. Where you’re not reasonably able to, then you need to consider what you can do to minimise the risk. Here are some examples:

  • Isolate vehicles and plant from people.
  • Ensure reversing warning devices are active, and activate hazards lights.
  • Have procedures for drivers to your site – for example arrival and reception processes, and designated safe zones for drivers to stand when unloading/loading activity is being undertaken.
  • Use spotters or dedicated traffic controllers to manage traffic and pedestrian movements.
  • Provide adequate lighting on site so that drivers and workers have good visibility.
  • Encourage drivers to walk the route and plan for manoeuvrability on sites visited for the first time.
  • Check that your drivers have the competence to operate the vehicles safely.
  • Consider having a policy and process for drug and alcohol screening /testing.
  • Manage the work hours and duration for your drivers to minimise fatigue.
  • Collaborate with other businesses on site to coordinate vehicle movements.
  • Where you can, implement a one-way system to reduce the need for vehicles to reverse on site.
  • Provide warning signs at all entrances and exits to the site.
  • Ensure workers wear high visibility clothing.
  • Consider the design of your worksite – design it so that it allows for the safe movement of goods, vehicles and people (pedestrian crossing areas, barriers, safe zones, walkways etc).
  • Introduce a speed limit on site.
  • Make parking areas separate to delivery areas where possible.
  • Ensure that drivers and others in goods in/out understand the ratings of the goods they are moving, the capability of the vehicles they are using, and of the racks they are storing the goods into – to prevent overloading.
  • Time deliveries for quiet times of the day to reduce the number of people who are likely to be near the vehicle being unloaded. 

You need to select the most effective controls that are proportionate to the risk, and appropriate to your work situation.

Get your workers involved

  • Ensure your workers know how to make suggestions, ask questions or raise concerns.
  • Always ask your workers for input on identifying health and safety risks and how to eliminate or minimise them. People are more likely to take responsibility and make good decisions when they have been involved in the conversation. Your workers (including contractors and temps) are the eyes and ears of your business. They can help spot issues, and suggest practical, cost-effective solutions.
  • Always train your workers on what the key risks are and how to keep healthy and safe. 

Find out more about getting your workers involved

Where to go for more information

Driving safely - New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA)(external link)  

Traffic management - roadside worksites | WorkSafe Victoria(external link)