Originally published on Aug. 2, 2016
Internal traffic control plans detail how construction traffic should be set up inside the construction area so that vehicles and equipment are separated – as much as possible – from workers on foot. Pedestrian workers are those employees who perform most of their duties outside vehicles and equipment, and they are particularly vulnerable to being struck by equipment.
According to the Work Zone Hazards Workbook published by OSHA in 2008, “the majority of fatalities that occur in road construction work zones in the United States involve a worker being struck by a piece of construction equipment or other vehicle. A worker in this industry is just as likely to be struck by a piece of construction equipment inside the work zone as by passing traffic.”
Workers are at risk when:
- They are preoccupied by their work and are not paying attention to what is going on around them.
- They become comfortable in a dangerous environment.
- They don’t have convenient access to and from their work space for restrooms, food and water, shade or breaks or other local work areas.
The purpose of an internal traffic control plan is the safety of all employees. An effective plan will inform all parties operating within the work site about the location of others, focus on worker safety within the work site, and establish “No On-foot Worker Zones” designed to minimize interaction between workers and vehicles.
Internal traffic control plans should:
- Designate routes and operating procedures for large trucks delivering materials.
- Create a traffic pattern to minimize backing.
- Use temporary traffic control devices to mark traffic paths.
- Facilitate communication among key work zone parties in advance of their arrival on the construction site.
- Limit access points to the work zone.
- Coordinate truck and equipment movements.
- Provide information on traffic paths and safe/unsafe work areas for employees.
- Heighten the awareness of pedestrian workers to vehicle traffic in the work zone.
- Maintain smooth traffic flow.
- Restrict the use of cell phones while near heavy equipment.
Develop and follow a good internal traffic control plan to ensure the safety of everyone on the construction site.