Date PostedApril 11, 2013

Road Construction Safety Alert

road constructionLast month a traffic controller died near Marlborough. It serves as a reminder that working on road construction can be dangerous and it is essential for all safety measures are in place especially in areas that are congested with road traffic.

In the twelve months from 2011 – 2012 there were 182 workers compensation claims for traffic controllers working at road construction sites and on one day alone in 2010 two individual traffic controllers lost their lives at different civil construction roadwork sites.

According to a safety alert at

In the first incident a traffic controller working on a site near Mackay was struck by a reversing truck while on the pavement area at an intersection directing traffic around the bitumen spray seal operations. In the second incident, a traffic controller was struck by a reversing tipper truck delivering asphalt for road surfacing operations at night.

In busy built-up areas, speeding motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and workers all interact with construction vehicles, heavy equipment, attenuator trucks and road pavers within the road construction site. In more remote areas, it is not uncommon for a road worker to be working alone, often not visible, protected only by traffic cones and speed signs.

While driver behaviour can be erratic, there are a number of reoccurring issues that are covered in a program of WHSQ information sessions that have been attended by hundreds of traffic controllers, traffic management companies, contractors, and local government and utility providers. These include training, fatigue breaks, supervision, consultation and documentation – all of which are apart from driver behaviour.


Some of the measures that can be implemented to help control the risks include:

  • Routinely drive through the construction site to confirm that signs and markings can be seen by road users
  • Fix problems as they arise
  • Workers need to be clear of the work area when on a break
  • Mobile plant needs to be parked away from the traffic lanes

Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning and web strategy firm based in George St Brisbane. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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