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An effective traffic management plan is a critical safety feature in many workplaces

Submitted on Wednesday, 16th August 2017

An effective traffic management plan is a critical safety feature in many workplaces. This was highlighted again recently as WorkSafe Victoria convicted and fined Victorian employer JMAL Group Pty Ltd for failing to provide a safe system of work for loading plant onto trucks on public roads after an employee was killed in a collision. The towing company, which specialises in transporting mobile plant, was fined $275,000.

According to WorkSafe’s prosecution summary, on 5 August 2015, the JMAL employee was tasked with loading and transporting a 66 boom lift crane from a depot at Williamstown to Melbourne Airport. The employee was using a Kenworth Prime Mover connected to a low loader trailer to transport the crane. The usual procedure for this task was to load the plant to be transported in the public road outside the depot. There was no documented traffic management plan in place for loading the plant exposing employees and users of the public road to the risk of death or serious injury as a result of collision with the low loader trailer and/or the crane. Employees were not inducted in a documented traffic management plan. At about 4.55 am on 5 August 2015, a member of the public was driving a delivery van along the road outside the depot. It was dark and raining. While driving south at approximately 40 to 50 kph, the van driver saw that the cage of a crane was in the centre of the road. The cage had no lights on it. The van driver tried to stop but the side of his van made contact with the cage. Upon investigation, the van driver discovered the employee was in the cage and injured. The employee subsequently died.

An effective traffic management plan could "be as simple as having signage and warning devices in place to indicate to other road users that loading or unloading is taking place", WorkSafe Victoria health and safety executive director Marnie Williams said after the decision.

If you need assistance with developing or reviewing traffic management plans for your business, the Victorian Chamber’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing consultants can help. Discuss your needs with our experts by calling 03 8662 5333 or enquire through hsw@victorianchamber.com.au.

Additionally, eligible small and medium sized businesses (up to 200 employees or $20m in remuneration) can receive up to 10 hours of FREE OHS consulting through WorkSafe Victoria’s OHS Essentials program. The service is administered by WorkSafe, but delivered by approved occupational health and safety (OHS) consultants. One of our approved OHS consultants will come to your workplace, help you identify hazards and develop a practical safety action plan. The plan outlines your safety risks and provides you with advice on how you might address them. Find out more about the details of the service here and apply by filling out and submitting the application form – we’ll then be in touch to organise the consultants visit. 

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