Creating an Internal Traffic Control Plan
Construction sites present a variety of risks. From operating dangerous machinery to working alongside massive building materials and in close proximity to traffic, workers are always at some form of risk as they perform their tasks. When an accident occurs on the jobsite, a contractor may be exposed to negligence claims. In other cases, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could accuse a contractor of unsafe work conditions or inadequate safety practices. Any of these scenarios will require the contractor to reach out to our Nashville construction litigation attorneys.
On highway construction projects, safety risks are even more prevalent. Workers are often required to work close together alongside roadways at night. Although motorists buzzing by the work zone always present significant risks, the workers also pose a risk to each other. Machinery, caught-in/between, and backover accidents are a few common incidents that occur on transportation projects. The good news is that these incidents are preventable with the use of spotters, effective technology and training initiatives, and an internal traffic control plan (ITCP).
In this article, A Nashville construction law firm will discuss how contractors can develop an internal traffic control plan to help prevent onsite accidents. For legal advice, safety assistance, or help procuring federal, state, and local transportation projects, consult the Nashville contractor lawyers at Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.
Preventing Onsite Accidents
Before any effective safety plan can be implemented, contractors must first have a firm understanding of why these incidents occur. For backover accidents, drivers may not be able to see the worker in their blind spot. Workers may not be paying close attention to their surroundings. A spotter may be focused on another area of the jobsite when the accident occurs. A worker riding on a vehicle may fall off. Operators may assume that the work area is clear when it isn’t, or they may not be looking in the direction they’re traveling. In many cases, it can be a combination of these factors. Daily meetings, toolbox talks, and a comprehensive ITCP can mitigate many of these risks. When you partner with a Nashville construction law professional, they can help you create safety manuals, audit your jobsite, and ensure you’re complying with OSHA’s regulations. We can also advise you on ways you can create an ITCP.
Creating an ITCP
An ITCP is an effective way that contractors can coordinate the flow of pedestrian workers, construction equipment, vehicles, and their operators in work zones to prevent accidents. Although developing an ITCP is common for transportation projects, an ITCP can be utilized for infrastructure, pipeline, and other types of projects too. To effectively launch a thorough ITCP, contractors will need to establish the foundational traffic principles to be featured in an effective plan:
- Workers should have plenty of space between their work zone and equipment
- Stage equipment in a way that limits the need to back up
- Feature access points strictly for work zones
- Coordinate all forms of movement on the jobsite, especially for trucks and equipment
- Place signs throughout the jobsite directing truck drivers, operators, and pedestrians
- Create buffer space between the work zone equipment and workers
- Consistently stay up to date with your workers on ITCP objectives
In order to effectively establish an ITCP, contractors need to work with their project manager or safety officer to create the plan. It’s equally important for site supervisors and foremen to be involved in this process as they will be vital to the implementation and success of the plan. As construction sites are consistently changing throughout each stage of the project, supervisors and foremen will need to set up the plan daily, monitor the jobsite, and assess the effectiveness of the ITCP in place. Considering that a jobsite experiences different phases of a project, the safety officer will need to adjust the ITCP to accommodate these changing conditions.
Here are the key features of an ITCP:
- An ITCP features a blueprint or outline of the jobsite layout. The safety officer should draw this layout with the traffic plan in place for each phase.
- The ITCP doesn’t have to be drawn to scale, but it should show the traffic path for equipment, vehicles, pedestrians, workers, etc.
- The ITCP should also feature the designated workspaces for each type of equipment along with it’s required travel path. This includes access points for the jobsite.
- The ITCP should also feature storage areas, the location of utilities, and other additional resources that can impact traffic flow on a jobsite
- The safety officer should also provide a synopsis of the design with a detailed description of the specific duties of various workers to comply with the ITCP. This includes highlighting equipment-free areas, speed limits, traffic signs, and other requirements.
Considering Additional Measures
Although the above information is an effective way to establish a plan, contractors need to make certain that everyone on the jobsite is on the same page. There are additional safety measures that will need to be implemented to ensure the safety of workers. Here are a few more areas of an ITCP that need to be addressed:
Communicating with Subcontractors and External Vendors
The ITCP should be provided to every team member of a construction project on a daily basis, including subcontractors, their workers, inspectors, and more. The ITCP should feature an accurate date every day it’s distributed to ensure that everyone is aware of the up-to-date features within the ITCP. Subcontractors should be required to attend daily ITCP meetings to ensure they are aware of any new requirements and restrictions.
Everyone on the jobsite should have a firm understanding of an ITCP and so must the external truck drivers, vendors, and professionals that visit the site. Any site visitor should be given an ITCP map and provided with instructions on the process of entering and exiting the jobsite. Along with these instructions, both the vendors and the workers onsite need to have an understanding of where they can unload materials when the vendors arrive. When a visitor enters the site, they should be parked away from the jobsite traffic and given more guidance on the ITCP. When access points are controlled and vendors are aware of the ITCP, this can greatly reduce the likelihood of injuries or fatalities occurring on the jobsite.
Signage and Additional Resources
Although there is no signage dedicated strictly to ITCP initiatives, contractors should display standard signage throughout the jobsite to provide guidance to workers, operators, and site visitors. Signage should be accurate to the ITCP at all times. As the plan changes, the signage needs to be adjusted accordingly. Some examples of signs to utilize include:
- Do Not Enter
- Wrong Way
- Pedestrian Prohibited
- No Pedestrian Crossing
- Truck Crossing
- No Turns
- Yield to Pedestrians
Along with the diligent use of signs, contractors should consider outfitting their equipment and vehicles with backing video devices, proximity detection devices, and spotters in areas that see frequent traffic.
Company Policy Provisions
The contractor, safety officer, and supervisors are responsible for the safety of their workers and for enforcing any issues of noncompliance with safety regulations. If workers fail to adhere to ITCP guidelines (they’re out of position, driving above the speed limit, etc.), they should be given a warning for their misconduct. Repeat violators or employees that egregiously violate these company policies should face further discipline.
For employee handbook drafting services or assistance establishing company policies related to safety initiatives, consult the Nashville contractor attorneys at Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.
If you would like to speak with a Nashville construction litigation attorney, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.