Weightru (United Kingdom) - As a legal requirement, sites that operate heavy vehicles need to be highly organised.
The reason being, each year around 26 people die as a result of being struck by vehicles on site, not to mention hundreds of preventable accidents and injuries.
Simply, the law states that you must organise a site so that all vehicles and pedestrians using site routes can move around safely. These routes need to be suitable for the people and vehicles using them, and sufficient in number and size.
So this involves route planning, traffic management and training; inadequate planning is the root cause of many vehicle accidents.
Regardless of if you’re only just discovering a need for traffic management on site, or if you’re trying to incorporate a new weighbridge into an existing plan, it’s essential you understand how a weighbridge will impact a site’s traffic management.
In a site traffic plan, there are many aspects that are affected by a weighbridge, including:
- Keeping pedestrians and vehicles apart
- Reducing vehicle movements
- People on site
- Turning vehicles
Let’s take a look into each one in a bit more detail.
1. Keeping Pedestrians and Vehicles Apart:
Most transport accidents occur because of inadequate separation of people and vehicles.
However this can be avoided with careful planning, especially at the design stage, and by controlling operations during any work.
To keep people and vehicles apart, here what you can do:
- Entrances + Exits: provide a separate entry and exit gateway for people and vehicles
- Walkways: where possible, ensure there are firm, level and well-drained pedestrian walkways that take a direct route
- Crossings: where walkways cross roadways, there needs to be well-lit, clear signage at crossing points so drivers and pedestrians can see each other
- Visibility: ensure drivers can see both ways along the footway before driving out on public roads
- Obstructions: never block walkways so pedestrians have to step onto a vehicle route
- Barriers: consider installing a barrier between the roadway and walkway
2. Reducing Vehicle Movements:
Through good planning, this can help to reduce vehicle movement around a site.
For insurance, landscaping to minimise the number of fill or spoil movement.
In order to limit the number of vehicles on site, you can:
- Provide parking for the workforce and visitors away from the work area
- Control entry to the work area
- Plan storage areas so vehicles don’t have to cross the site
3. People on Site:
All employers should take measures to ensure all workers are fit and competent to operate vehicles, machinery and attachments they use on site.
For example, conduct thorough checks when recruiting drivers, operators or contractors, as well as providing the appropriate training and managing the activities of visiting drivers.
It’s worth mentioning here that people who direct vehicle movements – signallers – must be trained and authorised to do so.
Unfortunately, accidents happen when inexperienced or untrained personnel drive heavy vehicles without authority.
And so, access to vehicles needs to be managed and people alerted for the risk.
4. Turning Vehicles:
Where possible, the need for vehicles to reverse should be avoided as reversing is a leading cause of fatal accidents.
Here, one-way systems can reduce this risk – especially in storage areas.
Or, a turning circle can be installed so vehicles can turn without having to reverse.
Following on from the previous point, if vehicles reverse in areas where people cannot be excluded, this risk is massively elevated.
Therefore, visibility becomes a crucial consideration.
To maximise visibility, you should consider:
- Aids for Drivers: such as mirrors, CCTV or reversing alarms to help drivers see movement around the whole vehicle
- Plant and Vehicle Marshallers: who can be appointed to control movement and are trained in the task
- Lighting: needed after sunset or bad weather, lighting will help drivers and pedestrians on shared routes see each other easily
- Clothing: everyone on site should be wearing high-visibility clothing and PPE
By following these methods above, you can help maximise the safety for everyone who is on site and reduce the chances of any fatalities.
The last thing to note, is to ensure all drivers and pedestrians both know and understand the routes and traffic rules for the site, so use appropriate road signage where necessary.
Finally, provide induction training for drivers, workers and visitors by sending instructions out before they arrive on site.