Work Safe Victoria is urging employers, workers and the public to prioritise safety in and around roadside construction work after a recent inspection campaign revealed inadequate safety measures at a number of sites.
Recently, 300 inspections across Victoria uncovered issues such as inadequate signage for road users and a lack of protective devices for workers managing traffic in and around their workplace.
In some instances, roadside construction teams working in close proximity to each other had not communicated, causing multiple traffic diversions to be put in place and potential confusion for road users.
According to Work Safe Victoria the call for safety comes as the number of civil and infrastructure roadwork projects across Victoria increases as the construction sector takes advantage of reduced traffic volumes in many areas over the summer months.
Work Safe executive director health and safety, Marnie Williams, cautioned employers, workers and the public to take care as road works ramped up in many areas across the state.
“Roadwork activity is inherently high risk as it involves people working in close proximity to heavy machinery and traffic, often in hot, noisy and dusty conditions. Safety is paramount,” Williams said.
“For construction employers this means identifying specific site hazards before starting a project, communicating these to workers and ensuring appropriate traffic management plans are in place and followed by all workers and contractors at the site.”
“For road users it means looking out for workers, being patient and obeying all directions when passing road works. It’s important to remember that the sites you see along the roadside are workplaces. Whether you’re a road worker or a road user, safety is everyone’s responsibility.”
Williams said employers that failed to keep their workers safety risk prosecution and significant penalties.
To reduce the risk to workers and road users, employers must ensure Work safe Victoria suggests the following:
• A traffic management plan is in place, adhered to and regularly reviewed, and that all workers on site are aware of it including contractors entering the site through different stages of construction.
• Worksites are well lit and that adequate signage and barriers exist to warn and direct traffic away from workers.
• Signage is located well in advance of the changed conditions and includes warning of changes to footpaths and bicycle lanes.
• Adequate space is provided for plant set-up and vehicle operation, with appropriate traffic control measures to isolate these from general traffic.
• The risks associated with installing, operating and removing traffic control devices are addressed.
• Environmental conditions such as heat are closely monitored to prevent illness among employees.