10 things you should consider when implementing a traffic management plan, plus Blue Card changes

A traffic management plan is vital for anyone working on a construction site. AlertForce recommends the following 10-point planning approach. The new Blue Card system for traffic controllers is also explored.

  1. A traffic management plan provides the details of proposals to safely manage traffic during the conduct of works on roads.
  2. The plan includes a traffic guidance scheme (diagrams), worksite hazard assessment (such as a safe work method statement and details of the location, nature and duration of the works.
  3. For long-term work the plan should include details of the requirements to manage traffic through the worksite outside normal working hours or when workers are not present at the site (after-care).
  4. A plan is required by legislation whenever works affect traffic on public and private roads, parking areas, and restricted access construction sites. This includes short-term works such as line marking
or median strip mowing as and up to long -term major road construction work.
  5. Documentation is essential to planning all aspects of the worksite, setting out the what, when how and who of everything that needs to be done.
  6. Worksites need to meet the requirements of a range of compliance documents, which may include legislative, organisation and site requirements and procedures for workplace health and safety, environment and duty of care.
  7. In response to industry calls for greater national consistency, the Commonwealth, states and territories have agreed to implement nationally harmonised work health and safety (WHS) legislation to commence on 1 January 2012.
  8. While not all states and territories have me the deadline, it is important to be aware of the changes, as all states and territories will eventually implement them.
  9. The plan should include reporting requirements for notifiable incidents. Persons engaged in high-risk work should have licences, permits and registrations. There should be provision for worker consultation, participation and representation at the workplace, and resolution of health and safety issues.
  10. You can find out what regulations and codes of practice apply in your state from the relevant Road and Traffic Authority office.

In NSW, a combination of the red card and orange card qualifications enables workers to create a traffic management plan as well as design, select and modify traffic control guidance schemes (TCGS) and conduct inspections.

To attain a Prepare a Workzone Traffic Management Plan Qualification, the following key knowledge and skills set will be assessed, along with a number of other skills:

  • Design traffic control guidance schemes (TCGS) to suit the specific road environment
  • Select and modify traffic control guidance schemes (TCGS) to suit the specific road environment
  • Prepare and develop a work zone traffic management plan
  • Incorporate environmental management plans
  • Follow organisational and legislative WHS policies and work procedures
  • Select signs for a Traffic Control Guidance Schemes (TCGS) (as required)
  • Sign-off a Traffic Control Guidance Schemes (TCGS) (if required)
  • Keep records of all modifications to the Traffic Control Guidance Schemes (TCGS)
  • Monitor and interpret control systems to apply to the drawing, selection and design
  • Use approved methods and follow recognised local legislation
  • Use the site/location assessment, distinguish topographical landmarks and carry out authorised risk control
  • Conduct an onsite check of the plan to identify any unexpected risks and hazards
  • Interpret standards and requirements with local policy and procedures

For training in implementing a traffic management plan, go to https://alertforce.com.au/ohs-training-courses/nationally-recognised-traffic-control-training-nsw/.

Changes to Blue Card system

While traffic planning saves lives, so too do competently trained traffic controllers. In NSW from July 1, 2015, Roads and Maritime Services has introduced a nationally-recognised competency-based framework into its suite of training courses for traffic controllers.

The competency framework is based on the Austroads research report, Traffic Control at Worksites – Training and Accreditation, which recommends a set of standards, skill sets and units of competency for traffic controllers.

Changes to the traffic controller qualification, currently referred to as Blue Card training, cover employees who manage traffic through or past a roadwork site, directing traffic with a stop/slow down baton or similar control device.

Skills and competencies required for the traffic controller qualification include stop/direct road users using a stop/slow bat and understanding stopping sight distances.

Other competencies include:

  • Understand and make changes to a Traffic Control Guidance Schemes (TCGS) to suite the specific road environment
  • Adapt behaviours to the work site
  • Know the basic function of the Traffic Control Guidance Schemes (TCGS)
  • Adapt to all Work Health and Safety (WHS) and operational requirements
  • Follow organisational and legislative WHS policies and work procedures
  • Use the site/location assessment, distinguish topographical landmarks and carry out authorised risk control
  • Conduct an onsite check of a TCGS to identify any unexpected risks/hazards
  • Able to interpret plans, that is, must be aware of the distance and measuring devices of the method
  • Plan for emergencies that may arise
  • Identify and select the correct type of signs and traffic control devices in line with a Traffic Control Guidance Schemes (TCGS)
  • Install and remove signs and traffic control devices, lane closures and advanced information signage, in line with a Traffic Control Guidance Schemes (TCGS)
  • Ensure spacing between signs and traffic control devices is in line with a Traffic Control Guidance Schemes (TCGS)

The units of competency required for the traffic controller qualification are Work safely and follow WHS policies and work procedures (RIIWHS201A), Control traffic with a stop/slow baton (RIIWHS205A) and Communicate in the workplace (RIICOM201D).

If you are currently working as a traffic controller, your current qualification will remain valid until its expiry as you are already demonstrating the appropriate skills and knowledge.

When your traffic controller qualification expires after July 1, 2015, your qualification must be recertified when your qualification expires. A number of options will be offered that may include on-the-job assessment or recognition of prior learning.

Depending on your skill level, knowledge and experience, you may need to complete a course or attend gap training. You will be provided with the appropriate options when you apply for recertification. If you currently have a valid qualification, you will still be permitted to design and inspect traffic control plans and carry out the functions and duties of your existing qualification.

Further information can be access via the Roads and Maritime website or by calling 1300 828 782.

Working in the civil construction industry and require traffic management or traffic controller training? Go to https://alertforce.com.au/ohs-training-courses/nationally-recognised-traffic-control-training-nsw/ for latest training courses.  

 

* Reference source for this article: AlertForce’s ‘Implement traffic management plan’ (R11WHS302D) and AlertForce’s ‘Changes to Traffic Control Training’ https://alertforce.com.au/ohs-training-courses/nationally-recognised-traffic-control-training-nsw/ and Roads and Maritime Services Traffic control training at http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/business-industry/partners-suppliers/traffic-control-training/

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