Wednesday March 1, 2023 12:57
In many workplaces there is often a situation where people and vehicles share a working environment. Cars, trucks, forklifts and container trailers can all be involved. This can be at a distribution centre, a warehouse, a transitional facility and even a car showroom or vehicle repair centre. It is a common occurrence – happens every day. It also poses a dangerous situation where people can be seriously hurt by moving vehicles if care is not taken and control measures implemented to minimise the likelihood of an accident.
So what can you do if have such a situation? What is expected of a responsible employer – a PCBU?
You have the primary duty of care as the PCBU to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of your workers. If you cannot eliminate the hazards of vehicles and people occupying the same area, you must endeavour to minimise the consequences by applying systematic management controls that regulate the activities and behaviours of vehicles and people entering the site, and establish as much as possible a controlled working environment.
There has been a noticeable increase in WorkSafe NZ inspectors requiring a traffic management plan for such shared areas. During inspections of these types of worksites, more improvement notices are being routinely issued for improved signage and designated traffic movement areas for the site. One of the best ways to demonstrate this is a schematic layout showing the site traffic management plan. An example of this is shown below:
This was generated using the free software – Canva – available at https://www.canva.com/ However, there are many more formats that can also be used.
A traffic management plans needs to show the flows of traffic, the entrance and exits, pedestrian areas only, trucks only, loading zones and position of buildings. The list goes on, so before you draft up a plan, it is a good idea to conduct a site audit using the WorkSafe NZ guide - Site Traffic Control Measures: https://www.worksafe.govt.nz/assets/dmsassets/5/5618WKS-17-Site-Traffic-Management-and-Overlapping-Duties-Prompts.pdf
This allows you to consider all the circumstances of the situation, the layout of the site, the extent of signage, PPE required and provides prompts on potential traffic hazards that may exist.
It is also recommended that you involve your workers in this process. Adopt a team approach utilising key staff representatives of all areas involved, to obtain the best outcome and a commitment by everyone to understand the rules, comply and make it work.
If you have any concerns around this topic or other Health & Safety matters, your Securo Consultant is available to help. They can also advise on hazard management and assist with the implementation of improved site safety, so please give them a call or alternatively, you can contact Securo head office on 0800 55 33 44.