Responding to COVID-19: The view from the Logistic sector

Keith Robinson | President of the Chartered Institute of Logistic and Transport

Workplace traffic management

Right now, businesses may well be reassessing their warehousing or goods in/out set up, and potentially seeking to downsize or collaborate in a shared space.

Despite the number of deaths and injuries in New Zealand and Australia that relate to “traffic management”, the WorkSafe NZ website still contains a factsheet that has not been updated since the Health and Safety At Work Act 2015 came into force. They are however, working on it – as they are working on enforcing it!

According to WorkSafe NZ, traffic management was a factor in 14 per cent of fatal work-related vehicle accidents between 2013 and 2017; predominately in relation to pedestrians entering into vehicle transit areas and the interaction of pedestrians and mobile plant.

We are all familiar with the “Hierarchy of Controls” as detailed in the Workplace Management Regulations 2016. The pyramid is inverted for a reason: we should look to eliminate hazards rather than substitute – and clearly isolation and engineering controls are much better than administrative or steelcapped shoes…

According to the HSWA 2015, “traffic” falls into the category of “mobile plant”. This means that we must have evidence that the equipment is safe to use and that users are currently competent to use the equipment (e.g., are suitably trained/supervised and are not overly fatigued).

Clearly the best time to practise good health and safety management is in design. In other words, if we can eliminate hazards at the outset, we won’t have to deal with them throughout the life of that system. Work area zones, pedestrian zones, site one-way systems and standardisation of processes can play a big part in the elimination of traffic issues.

The trouble is that most organisations focus on administrative and PPE controls.

Examples of the areas to consider are:

  • Vehicle/truck access to site
  • Truck loading zones
  • Safe access for driver from vehicle to office
  • Safe zones for drivers when loading
  • Internal walkways
  • Pathways from emergency doors to evacuation points

On 23rd June at 10.00am there is a free on-line tutorial on the subject of Traffic Management. For an invitation to attend please email

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Peter Green

Peter Green