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News & Press: Health & Safety

Managing Vehicle Movement on a Construction Site

01 November 2017  
Posted by: Tasveera Singh
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In 2016, 37 employees lost their lives in relation to motor vehicle accidents, and to date in 2017 this figure is already at 39 as per FEM stats. According to legislation, it is your responsibility that you organise your construction site so that vehicles and pedestrians using site routes can move around safely. The routes need to be suitable for the persons or vehicles using them, in suitable positions and sufficient in number and size.

The term ‘vehicles’ includes: cars, vans, low-loaders and mobile plant such as excavators, lift trucks and site dumpers etc.

The key message is: Construction site vehicle incidents can and should be prevented by the effective management of transport operations throughout the construction process.

Key issues in dealing with traffic management on site are:
Keeping pedestrians and vehicles apart
Minimising vehicle movements
People on site
Turning vehicles
Visibility
Signs and instructions 

What you need to know

Each year within the construction industry, the number of employees that die as a result of being struck by vehicles on site is alarming. In addition, there are hundreds of preventable accidents and injuries. 

Accidents occur from groundwork to finishing works; and managers, workers, visitors to sites and members of the public can all be at risk. Inadequate planning and control is the root cause of many construction vehicle accidents. 

Keeping pedestrians and vehicles apart

The majority of construction transport accidents result from the inadequate separation of pedestrians and vehicles. This can usually be avoided by careful planning, particularly at the design stage, and by controlling vehicle operations during construction work. 

The following actions will help keep pedestrians and vehicles apart:
Entrances and exits - provide separate entry and exit gateways for pedestrians and vehicles;
Walkways - provide firm, level, well-drained pedestrian walkways that take a direct route where possible;
Crossings - where walkways cross roadways, provide a clearly signed and lit crossing point where drivers and pedestrians can see each other clearly;
Visibility - make sure drivers driving out onto public roads can see both ways along the footway before they move on to it;
Obstructions – do not block walkways so that pedestrians have to step onto the vehicle route; and
Barriers - think about installing a barrier between the roadway and walkway.

Minimising vehicle movements

Good planning can help to minimise vehicle movement around a site. For example, landscaping to reduce the quantities of fill or spoil movement. 

To limit the number of vehicles on site: 
provide car parking for the workforce and visitors away from the work area;
control entry to the work area; and
plan storage areas so that delivery vehicles do not have to cross the site.  

People on Site

Employers should take steps to make sure that all workers are fit and competent to operate the vehicles, machines and attachments they use on site by, for example:

checks when recruiting drivers/operators or hiring contractors;
training drivers and operators;
managing the activities of visiting drivers.

People who direct vehicle movements (signallers) must be trained and authorised to do so. Accidents can also occur when untrained or inexperienced workers drive construction vehicles without authority. Access to vehicles should be managed and people alerted to the risk. 

Turning vehicles

The need for vehicles to reverse should be avoided where possible as reversing is a major cause of fatal accidents. 
One-way systems can reduce the risk, especially in storage areas. 
A turning circle could be installed so that vehicles can turn without reversing. 

Visibility

If vehicles reverse in areas where pedestrians cannot be excluded, the risk is elevated and visibility becomes a vital consideration.

You should consider:
Aids for drivers - mirrors, CCTV cameras or reversing alarms that can help drivers see movement all round the vehicle;
Signallers - who can be appointed to control manoeuvres and who are trained in the task;
Lighting - so that drivers and pedestrians on shared routes can see each other easily. Lighting may be needed after sunset or in bad weather;
Clothing - pedestrians on site should wear high-visibility clothing.

Signs and instructions

Make sure that all drivers and pedestrians know and understand the routes and traffic rules on site. Use standard road signs where appropriate.

Provide induction training for drivers, workers and visitors and send instructions out to visitors before their visit.


Neil Enslin | Health and Safety Manager


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