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22 APRIL 2020


Construction sites can be busy places, with powered mobile plant moving around; deliveries coming and going; loading and unloading of materials; and different trades working alongside each other to get the job done. 

With so much happening in and around construction sites, good traffic management is an essential part of keeping people safe – and keeping project schedules on track. Here are five traffic management tips to prevent project delays and to help get people home safely. 

1. Separate people and transport

It sounds simple: keep pedestrians and vehicles apart – but it’s not always as easy as it seems. Below are some examples of ways to separate people and moving vehicles on site.

  • Use clearly marked out pedestrian and transport zones, using physical barriers to enforce them.

  • Establish traffic-only routes for vehicles to travel safely through the site.

  • Apply physical exclusion zones for loading and unloading vehicles.

  • Portabooms can help to control the flow of traffic and keep pedestrians separate from vehicles as they enter and exit the site.


2. Traffic control measures

When it’s not possible to entirely separate people and traffic, controlling the use and movement of vehicles and heavy equipment can help to minimise this risk. 

  • Place traffic control stations at site entry and exit points so incoming traffic can be monitored and directed, and vital safety information can be passed on to anyone who enters the site.

  • Ensure vehicles and mobile plant are used for their intended purpose at all times.

  • Consolidating deliveries – i.e. placing fewer, larger orders, or using fewer suppliers to reduce the volume and frequency of delivery vehicles on site. Deliveries can also be scheduled during off-peak periods, or pedestrian movements can be restricted during peak transport times.

3. Safe site design 

Designing-out high-risk scenarios can dramatically reduce the risk of transport safety incidents in construction. Hazards like reversing and manoeuvring vehicles; hitching and unhitching trailers; driving with poor site lines; and unnecessary interactions between pedestrians and moving vehicles, can all be easily mitigated through design. Here’s how: 

  • Clearly mark out and communicate expected transport management behaviours.

  • Design one-way traffic routes to allow vehicles to always travel in a forward direction. When reversing and other turns are unavoidable, use spotters and designated transport zones to perform these manoeuvres. Other physical exclusion zones – like loading and unloading zones, and parking zones placed outside of work zones – can also help to separate people and moving vehicles.

  • Position waste disposal and collection areas for ease of access.

  • Install mirrors to improve visibility and site lines.

4. Traffic management equipment 

A wide range of traffic management equipment can be used to enhance safety and reduce traffic hazards in construction. Below are some examples: 

  • Temporary protective barriers, portabooms, delineators, rails and raised kerbs help to separate pedestrians from vehicles and moving plant equipment.

  • Traffic signs and electronic traffic management equipment can be used to alert workers and site visitors to hazards, and to communicate important safety information. For example drawing attention to:  

    1. Hazards presented by vehicles entering and exiting construction sites. 

    2. The location of dedicated zones for vehicles, pedestrians and parking

    3. Exclusion zones for loading and unloading.

    4. Overhead obstructions, hazards, and height restrictions.

    5. Modified traffic conditions and site speed limits.

  • Reversing sensors, visual warning systems (like flashing lights), and audible reversing alarms can improve spatial awareness for transport operators and pedestrians. 

  • High visibility / reflective clothing can be worn to improve visibility. 

  • Communications equipment like two-way radios facilitate vital traffic control communication. 

5. Setting up for success

When traffic management forms part of a proactive and comprehensive plan, it is far more likely to be effective. As well as being a requirement of many construction projects, traffic management plans ensure all transport hazards have been considered, and that suitable mitigation strategies have been put in place – reducing the likelihood of surprises once work starts on site. 

As a registered training organisation Coates Hire offers a range of traffic management courses to support the development and delivery of traffic management plans in construction. For advice on traffic management training and equipment hire, talk to Coates Hire today – or find your local branch.


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