Metal fabrication: Improving safety through traffic management layout and design

Guidance for employers on how to use traffic management layout and design to eliminate or reduce workplace health and safety risks in the metal fabrication industry.


Legal duties

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, employers must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees and independent contractors. Where the risk cannot be eliminated, it must be reduced so far as is reasonably practicable.

Develop a traffic management plan

Traffic management is important when controlling the risks associated with powered mobile plant — such as machinery and equipment such as bridge and gantry cranes or forklifts — and people operating in the same area.

An effective traffic management plan is achieved through a number of methods. The selection and suitability of these will depend on the space and activities carried out.

Employers and self-employed persons have a duty to identify hazards in the workplace and to assess and control those risks.

To develop an effective traffic management plan, you must:

  • identify all hazards associated with using powered mobile plant at the workplace
  • consult with employees, including contractors, and health and safety representatives (HSRs) when identifying hazards and assessing risks
  • assess the risks to people's health and safety and make sure the traffic management plan includes ways to control those risks that will ensure people's safety

You should also:

  • control risks by ensuring that people and powered mobile plant are separated using a permanent physical barrier, where practicable
  • review the plan regularly to make sure the risk controls continue to be effective
  • revise the plan whenever there is a change in mobile plant or pedestrian work practice

Separating powered mobile plant and people

Use safety barriers or containment fences to separate people and powered mobile machinery and equipment throughout the workplace.

Barriers can be fixed (Figure 2) or movable (Figure 1) depending on the needs of the workplace.

Figure 1: Movable barriers with fixed anchor points preventing vehicles and powered mobile plant from interacting with people.
Figure 2: Fixed barriers along walkways preventing people from moving into areas used by mobile powered plant and vehicles.

Use coloured zones and floor markings to show which areas powered mobile machinery and equipment operate in.

Use exclusion zones with physical barriers to restrict powered mobile plant or people from entering designated areas.

Fixed physical barriers should be used to prevent powered mobile plant from operating near:

  • tea rooms
  • time clocks
  • dining facilities
  • amenities
  • entrances
Figure 3: Fixed and movable barriers in use to separate powered mobile plant and vehicles from people.

In addition to physically separating people and powered mobile plant, also consider:

  • speed limiting devices
  • signs
  • audio and visual warnings
  • eliminating blind corners from the workplace
  • high visibility clothing on employees and site visitors

Ensure truck drivers are at a safe distance from trucks and powered mobile plant when loading and unloading.

Designated driver safety zones should be provided and located to allow drivers to observe the load being moved.

Figure 4: Fixed physical barriers separate drivers from powered mobile plant while allowing them to view unloading and loading.

Inform employees and visitors about the traffic management plan. Visitors may need to be accompanied when walking through the workplace.

Figure 5: Signs have been displayed around the workplace to inform employees and visitors of the traffic management policies and procedures.

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