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Organisations have a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, workers and others are not exposed to health and safety risks and this duty includes implementing control measures to prevent people being injured by moving vehicles at the workplace.
Managing warehouse traffic is an important part of ensuring the workplace is without risks to health and safety.
Vehicles including powered mobile plant moving in and around a workplace, reversing, loading and unloading are frequently linked with death and injuries to workers and members of the public. Traffic includes cars, delivery trucks, powered mobile plant like forklifts and pedestrians like workers and visitors.
At a warehouse goods are received and stored until they are required and then prepared for transportation. Activities include:
- Receiving and unloading goods from manufacturers, importers and suppliers;
- Transferring goods onto pallets for storage;
- Storing goods in appropriate conditions e.g. freezers, cold areas, racking;
- Responding to customer orders by picking products from warehouse shelves and preparing them for transportation; and
- Loading orders onto vehicles for transport to the customer.
The most effective way to protect pedestrians is to eliminate traffic hazards. This can be done by designing the layout of the workplace to eliminate interactions between pedestrians and vehicles. Examples include prohibiting vehicles from being used in pedestrian spaces or providing separate traffic routes so pedestrians cannot enter areas where vehicles are used. Where this is not possible the risks must be minimised so far as is reasonably practicable. This can be done by careful planning and controlling vehicle operations and pedestrian movements at the workplace.
Benchmark OHS Consulting Pty Ltd. experienced consultants can undertake a formal Traffic Management Assessment and develop a Traffic Management Plan that can help manage risks and communicate information regarding control measures. It may include:
- The designated travel paths for vehicles including entry and exit points, haul routes for debris or plant/materials, or traffic crossing another stream of traffic;
- Pedestrian and traffic routing;
- Traffic controls for each expected interaction, including illustrations of the layout of barriers, walkways, signs and general arrangements to warn and guide traffic around, past, or through the workplace or temporary hazard;
- Requirements for special vehicles (e.g. over-dimensional);
- Requirements for loading from side of road onto the site;
- Travel paths on routes remote from the workplace such as places to turn around, access ramps and side roads;
- Designated delivery and loading/unloading areas;
- The expected frequency of interaction of vehicles and pedestrians;
- Roles and responsibilities of persons in the workplace for traffic management; and
- Instructions or procedures associated with the control of traffic, including in an emergency.