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all Workplace safety is a paramount concern, particularly when mitigating the risks associated with forklift operations. While essential for material handling, these powerful machines can pose significant dangers if not properly managed. However, an effective solution exists in the form of traffic management planning. Businesses can effectively minimise accidents and injuries by implementing well-structured strategies to regulate the movement of forklifts and pedestrians within a facility. So let’s explore traffic management plans and their pivotal role in ensuring forklift safety and safeguarding the well-being of workers.

What Are Traffic Management Plans?

Traffic management plans are systematic and structured strategies developed by PCBUs (Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking) and supervisors to regulate the movement of forklifts, pedestrians, and other vehicles within a workplace. These plans include designated traffic routes, speed limits, signage, and physical barriers that balance workplace efficiency and safety. By effectively managing traffic; businesses can minimise the risks of forklift-related collisions, accidents, and injuries, creating a safer working environment for everyone involved.

A PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) refers to an individual or entity that carries out a business or undertaking and has legal responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of workers and others affected by the work.

PCBUs and supervisors are responsible for developing a comprehensive traffic management plan in consultation with their workers and other stakeholders and for applying the principles of hazard management. 

The traffic management plan development process can be broken down into several key steps:

Identify the Hazards 

Carefully observe the movement patterns of forklifts, vehicles, and pedestrians in all workplace areas. Determine areas where collisions could occur and assess the facility’s physical layout, including floor surfaces, exits, driveways, and housekeeping standards. Seek input from workers regarding any issues they have noticed, review incident and injury records, and consult equipment manufacturers’ information to comprehensively understand the hazards present.

MultiSkills Forklift Licence Training Tip – Gather as much information as possible to help you understand the hazards you face. The better you know these problems, the closer you are to developing strategies to mitigate them.

Assess the Risks

When assessing traffic hazard risks in the workplace, PCBUs must thoroughly evaluate the potential impact and severity of these hazards. This involves considering the worst possible outcomes regarding injuries and damage to one’s health. It is essential to determine whether the hazard would only require basic first aid or if it could lead to permanent disabilities or even fatalities. Additionally, the likelihood of the hazard causing harm should be assessed, considering its frequency and the number of employees exposed to it. This comprehensive risk assessment helps understand the level of risk posed by traffic hazards and aids in developing effective control measures. 

MultiSkills Forklift Licence Training Tip – Don’t rush this step. Considered analysis helps you understand the risk level associated with each hazard and guides subsequent control measures.

Control the Risks

The most effective approach to risk management is to eliminate hazards whenever possible. If complete elimination is not feasible, explore alternative measures to minimise the risks. 

MultiSkills Forklift Licence Training Tip – Follow the Hierarchy of Control, which prioritises control measures in the following order:

  1. Elimination: Explore options to eliminate the use of forklifts, if feasible.
  2. Substitution: Consider using safer types of forklifts or alternative load-shifting equipment.
  3. Isolation: Implement measures such as overhead pedestrian walkways to physically separate forklifts and pedestrians.
  4. Engineering/Redesign: Utilise engineering solutions like speed-limiting devices on forklifts to reduce risks.
  5. Administration: Train employees to use warning signs to communicate potential hazards effectively.
  6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): As a last resort, equip workers with personal protective equipment like high visibility vests.

Review Control Measures

Regularly review and assess control measures to ensure they function as intended and do not introduce new hazards. Revisit the hazard management process periodically, especially following any changes in the workplace or after near misses or incidents.

MultiSkills Forklift Licence Training Tip – Review processes should be holistic, noting the things that worked well and those that didn’t. Those things that worked well are strengths you can build on in developing improved and sustainable traffic management plans.

Implementing a well-designed traffic management plan is crucial for reducing forklift-related injuries in the workplace. By understanding the risks, developing comprehensive plans, separating forklifts and pedestrians, enforcing speed restrictions, using clear signage, providing training, and conducting regular reviews, businesses can create a safer environment for all personnel.

At MultiSkills Training, our industry-experienced trainers keep up to date with current industry best practices to ensure you receive the knowledge and skills you need to work efficiently and safely. And with Government Subsidised Skill Sets available on our Forklift Training Course (TLILIC0003) and Traffic Control Course (RIIWHS302E), now is the time to enrol with MultiSkills Training. Our experienced instructors and professional facilities ensure you receive all the support you need to unleash your potential. 

So call our friendly customer service staff on 1800SKILLS or send us a message via our contact page to find out more. Our team is always happy to help with any questions or queries you may have about your learning.

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