Industrial or commercial worksites can be dangerous places, especially for pedestrians. Vehicle and pedestrian shared zones, the use of heavy machinery,rough and uneven walkway surfaces, constantly changing conditions can all heighten the risk of workplace accidents.
Because of this, it’s important to take all necessary precautions to ensure that everyone at your worksite is safe. In order to implement safety plans properly, it’s imperative that you take the time to think about the various factors that can affect pedestrian safety including proper training, traffic management systems and the use of appropriate safety equipment.
Over time, site workers can become complacent when it comes to safety regulations. A lax attitude at the worksite can also increase the chances of pedestrians getting injured.
There are many traffic control methods that you can implement to prevent accidents at the worksite. To help you, here are a few ways you can improve pedestrian safety.
Control and direct pedestrians
It is important that pedestrians keep a safe distance from vehicles. To make sure that this distance is maintained, install guard rails at entrances and exits. In addition, use barriers, gates and doors to prevent pedestrians from walking into dangerous areas.
Having marked crossing points can also increase worker safety. Oftentimes, pedestrians take an unsafe route due to a lack of nearby crossing lanes. Make sure that the crossing signs also indicate who has the priority in order to avoid confusion between the drivers and pedestrians.
Designated zones for pedestrian and vehicle traffic
Ensure that your workplace indicates a clear separation between pedestrian and vehicle traffic areas. This is particularly important at the worksite entry points.
For areas that are exclusively for vehicles, make sure that there is sufficient signage that warns pedestrians to stay away. All signage should be high visibility and conform to the appropriate workplace safety standards.
In certain weather conditions, it might be more suitable to use flashing LED signs. Extreme weather like heavy rain can affect the visibility of static signage, increasing the risk of a workplace accident. Additionally, upgrading to reflective signs can also improve worker safety.
New devices like low-power thermal detectors can also be attached to these signs. Through these detectors, the signs can be programmed to light up only when pedestrians are approaching.
PPE, visibility markings and alert systems
Visibility is important for both pedestrians and vehicles. When at the worksite, it is important for pedestrians to be wearing high-visibility clothing and PPE including hardhats, boots, protective headphones, gloves, goggles and face masks.
Vehicles must have high visibility markings and working alert systems like horns, flashing warning lights and backup alarms.
In terms of the worksite itself, it is essential that it is properly illuminated so that workers can see and avoid potential hazards.
Careful monitoring of shared zones
Shared pedestrian and vehicle zones are among the highest risk areas on a worksite. These areas should be carefully monitored and controlled to minimise the risk of accident and injury.
It can be useful to create a hotspot map of all the areas where pedestrians and vehicles meet. Knowing these high-risk sections can help you understand where to put signs, notices and/or lights.
Additionally, it will enable you to warn workers that certain sections are dangerous and that they should stay alert when accessing such areas. Signs that indicate the potential hazards in these areas are essential.
A clear separation between pedestrian and vehicle pathways is vital in shared zones.
Appropriate workplace safety training and licensing for everyone onsite
Ensure that individuals who operate vehicles at your worksite are licensed and are authorised to drive.
Both drivers and pedestrians need to be run through sufficient safety training as well. Make sure that everyone understands work procedures and are instructed in what to do when confronted with a safety issue. Safety orientations, meetings and reviews should be held on a regular basis as it is common for long-time workers to forget or ignore safety regulations.
Neglecting these factors can lead to serious workplace injuries. Not following workplace safety regulations can also lead to hefty fines and penalties.
Ensure all site visitors report first to site office
Unsupervised visitors are often victims of worksite accidents. It is unreasonable to expect visitors to be as informed of worksite hazards as licensed construction workers.
Thus, it is important to ensure that all visitors report to the site office first. This will help you keep track of the visitors and make sure that they are accompanied when accessing different parts of the site.
Given the countless number of hazards at a commercial/industrial worksite, it is important to ensure that your workplace is safe for both pedestrians and vehicle operators.
Please consider the points above and ensure that you take the necessary steps in improving worksite safety. Doing something as simple as putting up a sign or installing a light can save someone from getting hurt or potentially losing their life.