DANGERS OF TRAFFIC CONTROL
Traffic control workers have one of the most dangerous jobs.
In many parts of Australia, motor vehicle collisions and traffic congestion are a major issue. More vehicles find their way on the roads and new roads or new lanes to accommodate them, are not being constructed fast enough. In a bid to keep other construction workers and motorists safe, all traffic controllers puts their life at risk when they direct traffic. Traffic is unpredictable. Everything can be going smoothly and safely on the roads, then disaster strikes. Cars can collide, a truck can roll and spread its load across several lanes of traffic or heavy rain can cause a highway to flood.
There have been many examples in the history of our roads, of the fragile nature of directing traffic.
A Bayswater man was working as a traffic controller at a roadworks site in Carrum Downs when a car ploughed into him on a November morning in 2021. He died at the scene. Altus Traffic chief executive officer described the events of this morning as an absolute tragedy. “He got up this morning and went to work just like any other day and for him not to be going home to his family today is just one of the most shattering experiences I’ve had in my working life,” he said. He urged people going through road works across the country to slow down and respect the safety of traffic controllers.
A roadworker setting up for traffic control duties died when he was struck by a ute in regional Victoria. The 59-year-old man is believed to have been preparing for the traffic duties on the onramp to the Western Highway in Trawalla in October 2020.
In November 2011, a man was struck and killed by a street sweeper during late-night roadworks in Bayswater as he was aligning bollards to separate traffic from resurfacing works.
A single life lost is a tragedy. Our hearts go out to all families involved.
Any work that involves the need for pedestrian employees to be around traffic is high risk, and safety needs to be considered above everything at all times.
To reduce the risk of injury or death to vulnerable road users such as pedestrian employees, employers should ensure that:
- Worksites are well-lit, and that adequate signage and barriers exist to warn and direct traffic away from employees.
- Adequate space is provided for plant set up and vehicle operation.
- A documented traffic management plan is in place, adhered to and regularly reviewed, and that all workers on site are aware of it.
- The risks associated with installing, operating and removing traffic control devices are addressed.