Topics explained – Automotive – Traffic management in automotive workshops

Where there are cars, trucks or forklifts at your workplace there is a risk that they will collide with people. Those who work with or near vehicles are most at risk, as are customers and visitors.

Workers unfamiliar with the operation of a particular vehicle or a customer’s driving ability can add to the risk from moving vehicles.

Driving onto or off hoists can also present risks.

Employer responsibilities

Employers and PCBUs have a duty of care to control the traffic in the workplace. This can be done by:

  • creating a traffic management plan which is a set of rules for managing the safest and most efficient movement of traffic at your workplace. It should contain practical, workable controls for all vehicles, including forklifts. The plan should take into account the size of your workplace, the kinds of vehicles likely to be present, and how often the interaction between people and vehicles is likely to occur.
  • ensuring that different controls are implemented for personnel working at another location or workplace with which they are not familiar (e.g. making a service call or carrying out roadside breakdown maintenance).

Worker responsibilities

Workers must contribute to the health and safety of their workplace by:

  • taking responsibility for their own safety and the safety of the people they work with
  • following all safe work instructions and procedures
  • reporting safety issues
  • using safety gear (PPE) where required, such as hi-vis clothing.

Safety solutions

Check that workers have the appropriate drivers’ licences for vehicles and machinery such as forklifts.

When designing safety solutions for automotive workshops consider:

  • visibility
    • wear hi-vis clothing
    • fix mirrors at blind corners and other areas to aid visibility
  • exclusion zones
    • designate pedestrian exclusion zones and walkways
    • mark exclusion zones with physical barriers (e.g. chains or bollards), signs, reflective paint or hazard cones
    • designate a safety zone for delivery drivers – they should be seen by the forklift operator at all times when their vehicle is being loaded or unloaded
  • reversing vehicles
    • use a person to direct reversing vehicles – this person should be in visual contact with the driver at all times and wear high-visibility clothing
    • keep non-essential workers away from reversing areas
    • light and clearly mark reversing areas with signs, hazard cones and chains or line markings
  • loading and unloading
    • train workers in different vehicle controls and operation, and in driving on/off hoists
    • introduce clear and effective communication systems between forklift operators and the driver (e.g. hand signals or two-way radios)
    • provide ways to warn pedestrians and vehicle drivers that loading/unloading is in progress (e.g. signage, cones, lights, alarms and horns).

Further information