Safety Risks Facing Traffic Control Workforce
In most parts of Australia and many countries across the globe, traffic flow, motor vehicle collisions and traffic congestion is 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. Traffic control workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in Australia. In a bid to keep other construction workers and motorists safe, even keenest or best-trained traffic controller puts their life at risk when they direct traffic in a construction site.
Statistics on traffic control workers’ injuries
- In 2010, two Queensland traffic controllers were killed in two different incidents when motor vehicles reversed into them
- In 2013, a Tasmanian driver struck and killed a traffic controller on Vermont Road. The driver was found guilty of negligent driving
- In 2017, a Bruce Highway traffic controller was killed when an over speeding vehicle struck him.
From these statistics, it is clear that being a traffic controller is one of the hazardous professions anyone can undertake. However, the fatality rate and the number of injuries for traffic controllers can be significantly reduced if we identify safety risks and discuss ways through which they can be mitigated.
Traffic controllers safety hazards
Some of the most common safety hazards facing traffic controllers include:-
With the presence of infotainment systems in vehicles and the use of phones, distracted driving is on the rise. Distracted driving could result from using your phone, adjusting the radio, eating or drinking while driving, talking to a passenger, and anything else that makes the driver shift his attention from the road.
When a driver is distracted, they may not notice any signage or other construction site signs which should alert them of the road conditions ahead. In such a case, the traffic controller faces grave danger as he or she either has to flee or get struck. An accident due to distracted driving can be fatal if the vehicle was speeding.
Lack of proper training or certification
Traffic controllers are essential to the safety of a construction site. This is because in most cases, they are placed in the front line. A competent traffic controller needs to:-
- Be able to communicate specific instructions to other construction workers
- Be mentally and physically prepared to handle emergencies
- Provide motorists with clear directions using appropriate signalling tools, and
- Apply safe traffic and worksite practices
Undergoing training and certification are critical steps toward becoming a competent traffic controller. Going through training enables the controllers to understand the significance of proper traffic flagging operations. During the training, traffic controllers are taught on how to use flagging equipment and safety tools.
Exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos
Due to the nature of a road construction site, traffic controllers are exposed to toxins from construction materials such as asbestos. Exposure to asbestos can lead to health complications such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. This hazard can be attributed to inadequate training, where the traffic controller is not trained on how to use safety equipment such as respirators.
Traffic controlling is quite a fast-paced job as road construction projects are usually carried out on a tight schedule. A traffic controller works on all types of work shifts including long overnight hours. This makes it easy for such workers to be easily fatigued.
How to mitigate traffic controller hazards
Due to the taxing nature of the job, these workers should be in a good physical condition and mentally alert. When it comes to road construction sites, danger is always lurking. Such sites are more dangerous at night as there is a higher chance of drivers missing construction site signs and traffic control devices. For these reasons, traffic controllers need to be physically fit as well as always be ready to react to emergencies. Alternating with other traffic controllers is an effective way of avoiding overexertion.
Traffic controllers also need to be taken through vigorous training. They need to be taught on such things as the essence of safety equipment such as overalls, a hardhat, and high-visibility clothing, how to use proper hand signs and work tools, procedures for reporting erratic driving, flagging procedures, and so on. After successful completion of the traffic controller training course, they should be awarded a certificate. As a contractor or an employer, you will be held liable if after an accident the traffic controller is found to be insufficiently trained.
How Induct for Work can help
Induct for Work is an online induction platform that helps contractors and employers develop traffic controller training course. Once the course is complete, you only need to send an invite link to your workers so that they can participate in the induction. Potential traffic controllers can access the content from devices such as personal computers, desktops, or even their platforms.
You can make the course as engaging as possible through the use of videos, audios, simulations, and other visually engaging media. This helps the inductee retain as much information as possible. You can monitor the progress of the inductees and gauge their understanding through tests.
Once they complete the course, Induct for Work generates a certificate. The platform will alert you when these certificates, as well as other traffic controller documents, are due for renewal.
As the content is editable 24 X 7 you can update it at anytime to make sure that it is current. This also helps you stay compliant with local laws and regulations.
Use your own content to provide regular training to your traffic controllers by registering here for a free trial.