Construction site traffic management

On average, around 7 workers die each year as a result of accidents involving vehicles or mobile plant on construction sites. In addition, approximately 90 workers are seriously injured1.

Accidents occur throughout the construction process from groundworks to finishing works. Managers, workers, visitors to sites and members of the public can all be at risk if activities around or involving construction vehicle are not properly managed and controlled.

Many incidents of property damage, injury and even fatalities can, and should, be prevented by effectively managing transport operations throughout the construction process. Poor planning and control and a failure to review procedures as a site changes and evolves is often at the root of construction vehicle accidents.

Reasons for incidents involving traffic on and around construction sites include poor segregation of pedestrians and vehicles and moving plant, challenging manoeuvres and movements – particularly reversing and turning, inadequate training and experience of workers and a lack of signs, instructions and visibility.

  • Consider site traffic management arrangements during the design phase of each project, with thought given to how plans will need to evolve and change as the site develops and works progress.
  • Complete risk assessments and develop site traffic management plans that address the unique and ever-changing conditions of the construction site environment and make sure there are reviews throughout the construction phase and that findings are implemented and communicated to workers.
  • Keep pedestrians and vehicles and moving plant apart.

    - Have separate entrance and exit points for pedestrians and vehicles with clear signs.

    - Provide pedestrians with firm, level, well-drained and appropriately maintained walkways that take a direct route where possible.

    - Designate crossing points where any walkways cross site roads.

    - Make sure that drivers have good visibility as they exit the site. They should be able to see both ways along any footpath before they attempt to cross it.

    - Keep up good housekeeping standards.

    - Consider the need for physical barriers between pedestrian walkways and vehicle routes.

    - Minimise the distance vehicles doing deliveries or pick-ups need to travel across the site to get to designated areas for loading/unloading.

    - Erect signs and mark roads to direct drivers and reduce the likelihood they will get out of their vehicle, looking for assistance, before reaching the loading bay.
  • Minimise vehicle movements by taking the time to plan routes on the site, with specific consideration given to delivery timings and arrangements and the location of loading and storage areas. You should also think about doing the following to achieve this:

    - Provide designated parking areas for workers and visitors, away from the construction area.

    - Install an access control system (barriers, gate person, etc.) at the entrance to the construction area. Any such system will need to be carefully managed, recognising the issues that can arise if vehicles are left to queue, particularly onto a highway or across an external pedestrian route.

    - Establish storage areas at points that limit the need for delivery vehicles to travel across the site.

    - Ensure suitable systems are in place for key control (i.e. make sure keys are removed from vehicles and plant when not in use and/or, on doors and gates, use designated key fob or numerical key pad systems, for example) to prevent the unauthorised movement of vehicles and/or plant.
  • Make sure that individuals operating machines, vehicles and their associated attachments are suitably fit and competent for the tasks that they’re undertaking. Consider the following:

    - Check the physical fitness, previous experience and training of candidates when recruiting or hiring drivers and operators.

    - Set up training (including relevant refresher training) for drivers and operators (including agency drivers and operators) wherever a need has been identified or established. 

    - Provide training for those involved in the directing of vehicles and plant, where their use is considered appropriate/necessary.
  • Reduce the need for vehicles to turn as far as is reasonably practicable. In particular, reversing should be avoided as much as possible since it has been identified as a major cause of accidents involving vehicles and mobile plant.

    - Create a one-way system, where possible.

    - Provide designated turning areas for vehicles, including turning circles, to remove the need for reversing.
  • Ensure good visibility along all traffic routes, but particularly if reversing can’t be avoided or vehicles need to manoeuvre in areas where pedestrians can’t be excluded. This can be accomplished with:

    - Driver aids, such as mirrors, reversing alarms and in-vehicle CCTV.

    - Trained signallers.

    - Lighting – particularly essential during bad weather and winter working.

    - High visibility clothing.
  • Install road signs to warn, guide and instruct drivers on site as required and particularly along routes for delivery drivers and site visitors.
  • Ensure that all drivers and pedestrians know and understand the pedestrian and traffic routes on site. 
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For traffic on work sites not in the construction sector, refer to our guidance about workplace transport.