Workplace traffic safety tips you can’t afford to ignore

Workplace traffic safety tips you can’t afford to ignore

Reduce traffic risks to cut injury numbers at work

HSE statistics tell us that there are thousands of workplace traffic accidents each year, and dozens of people are killed because of them. Although everyone is responsible for health and safety in the workplace, as an employer you have a legal duty to ensure the wellbeing of your employees, contractors, and visitors.

As workplace traffic accidents account for so many injuries and fatalities in the UK workforce, as an employer you should act to de-risk your workplace from traffic dangers. These workplace traffic safety tips will help you do so.

What is traffic in the workplace?

Workplace traffic is any activity which involves vehicles. This doesn’t include work on public roads, unless it involves loading or unloading on a public road. There are seven elements that these workplace traffic safety tips cover:

  • Traffic routes
  • Speed
  • Traffic management
  • Pedestrians
  • Signs and signals
  • Lighting
  • Loading and unloading

Workplace traffic tip #1: Traffic routes

Routing of traffic around your workplace is essential. However, doing this effectively is more complex than many believe. You’ll need to:

  • Ensure routes are wide enough for vehicles
  • Ensure that surfaces are suitable for the vehicles being used, and for pedestrians (e.g. grip, even, level, properly drained)
  • Avoid steep slopes
  • Avoid blind corners where possible
  • Keep routes obstruction free
  • Signpost routes
  • Maintain routes properly

In designing your traffic route, you will need to consider practicalities, the inherent risks, and the cost of implementing traffic routes. The first step is to conduct an HSE risk assessment.

Workplace traffic tip #2: Speed

As on public roads, speed is a major factor in workplace traffic accidents. You should take measures to reduce speed of vehicles in your workplace. These may include speed bumps, rumble strips, chicanes, and signage. When considering actions to reduce speed, you should also consider whether these actions might increase risk – speed bumps may not be appropriate for use with loaded forklifts, for example.

To assess an appropriate speed limit, consider the route layout and its usage. For example, lower speeds will be appropriate where pedestrians are present or where lift trucks and road-going vehicles share a traffic route.

Workplace traffic tip #3: Traffic management

Traffic management initiatives include controlling pedestrian access, segregation of pedestrians and vehicles, monitoring of vehicle movements, and controlling vehicle movements. You should also consider how to keep the public away from workplace traffic routes, or what warning signs are needed and where.

Workplace traffic tip #4: Pedestrians

The safest way to ensure that pedestrians are safe from workplace traffic is to segregate them from vehicles. A one-way route for vehicles will help pedestrians know where danger is likely to come from, and designated crossing routes should be maintained and observed – with pedestrians having right of way. The use of kerbs, barriers, route markings, and lights also help to delineate pedestrian and vehicle areas.

For more advice, read our article “10 forklift safety tips to keep your pedestrian workers alive and kicking”.

Workplace traffic tip #5: Signs and signals

Signage should be used to direct and warn drivers and pedestrians. Ensure they are positioned effectively, well lit, and kept clean. White road markings will regulate traffic, and yellow markings delineate parking.

Workplace traffic tip #6: Lighting

Ensure traffic routes are sufficiently lit, especially on corners, bends, and where loading an unloading takes place. Effective lighting includes steady lighting levels that do not dazzle drivers.

Workplace traffic tip #7: Loading and unloading

Loading and unloading areas should be:

  • Free of unconnected traffic
  • On level ground
  • Separate to other work areas
  • Protected from bad weather is possible
  • Free from cables, pipes, and other obstructions

Drivers and operators should be fully trained in loading, unloading, and securing loads. Drivers should remain away from the loading area, unless it is there job to also load/unload.

Ensure your workplace is traffic safe

Making sure your employees are safe at work is not only a legal requirement, it’s good business. The fewer injuries your workers suffer, the better their attendance records will be and the more productive your company will become. Contact Sentry today, and we’ll show you how to improve your workplace health and safety compliance easily, and keep up to date with H&S regulation changes seamlessly.

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