Traffic Control

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Traffic control is the direction of vehicles through an area where the normal flow of traffic is disrupted, such as during road construction and utility work. Effective traffic control protects workers, the motoring public and pedestrians, while keeping delays to a minimum.

Traffic control can be dangerous work. A traffic control plan is a plan prepared in advance of commencing work that addresses all aspects of traffic control in the work area and is used in an effort to eliminate or reduce hazards. The plan must be based on a thorough hazard assessment and show how traffic is to be safely separated from workers and pedestrians. It consists of a diagram showing the road layout along with the traffic control measures that will be used to warn and guide traffic past, around and through the work site safely. The plan must include:

  • Location of work
  • Diagram
  • The work to be undertaken
  • The equipment required
  • The number of traffic control persons needed
  • The applicable regulations and manuals
  • Public notifications
  • Communication methods
  • Emergency response plan

A traffic control plan is a plan prepared in advance of commencing work that addresses all aspects of traffic control in the work area and is used in an effort to eliminate or reduce hazards. The plan must be based on a thorough hazard assessment and show how traffic is to be safely separated from workers and pedestrians. It consists of a diagram showing the road layout along with the traffic control measures that will be used to warn and guide traffic past, around and through the work site safely. The plan must include:

  • Location of work
  • Diagram
  • The work to be undertaken
  • The equipment required
  • The number of traffic control persons needed
  • The applicable regulations and manuals
  • Public notifications
  • Communication methods
  • Emergency response plan

Employer Responsibilities

Employers must:

  • Provide effective traffic control when the movement of vehicle traffic is a hazard to workers.
  • Make sure that workers have and follow written traffic control procedures that meet:
  • Employ traffic control persons according to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure’s "Traffic Control Specification" criteria and when required by an OHS Officer with OHS Division.
  • Make sure that traffic control persons stand in a safe location. This location must:
    • Be clearly visible to approaching traffic;
    • Provide the worker with an unobstructed view of approaching traffic; and
    • Be at least 25 metres away from the work area.
  • Make sure that good visibility is maintained when traffic is diverted onto dusty surfaces, through periodic application of an approved dust control substance.
  • Provide designated walkways to separate pedestrian traffic from work areas with moving vehicles and equipment. Where walkways are not practical, adequate safe work procedures shall be used to minimize the risk of collision by:
    • Using a traffic control system;
    • Enforcing speed limits for vehicles and equipment; and
    • Requiring that pedestrians and operators acknowledge each other (e.g. make eye-contact, wave) before the pedestrian enters the work area; or
    • Another effective means.

Where two or more traffic control persons are working as a team:

  • Make sure that one traffic control person is assigned to coordinate traffic, including the initiation of direction change cycles.
  • Make sure that worker communication methods are selected and understood by personnel using them, before flagging operations begin.

Worker Responsibilities

Workers must:

  • Follow safe work practices and procedures, including the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure “Traffic Control Manual for Roadway Work Operations”.
  • Not perform traffic control duties without a current certification in traffic control, obtained from an approved training provider. Traffic control training expires after three years.
  • Participate in hazard assessments.
  • Use control measures and personal protective equipment, including high-visibility clothing (suitable for daytime or night time use, as appropriate) where there is a danger from moving vehicles or equipment.
  • Report hazards to the supervisor or employer.

Related topics

Traffic control

Traffic control includes the use of:

  • Patrol vehicles
  • Traffic lights
  • Signs
  • Barricades
  • Cones
  • Detours
  • Traffic control persons
  • Other necessary techniques and devices

Hazard assessment

A hazard assessment is a thorough check of the work environment and task before work begins. The purpose is to identify potential hazards and appropriate safety measures to be used to eliminate or reduce the hazards.

Traffic control person

A worker employed in traffic control who holds a valid traffic control training certificate.

Department of Transportation and Infrastructure

The provincial department is responsible for the construction and maintenance of the provincial highways; the provision of the provincial ferry services; management of the provincial government fleet of light vehicles and heavy equipment; operation and maintenance of the provincial government air ambulances and water bombers and construction and management of provincial government buildings.

Traffic Control Manual

The Traffic Control Manual outlines all the legal requirements for traffic control in the province, including traffic control layout diagrams, descriptions and information on signs and devices, and procedures used to develop a traffic control plan.

A copy of the manual can be found at: https://www.gov.nl.ca/tw/files/publications-traffic-control-2018.pdf

Current certification

Make sure workers do not use fall protection equipment unless they hold a current certification in fall protection, obtained from an approved training provider. Fall protection training expires after 3 years.

Approved training provider

Some types of training, such as confined space entry, fall protection and power line hazards, must be delivered by WorkplaceNL approved training provider.  A list of approved trainers and available courses can be found in the Certification Training Registry (CTR) https://ctr.bluedrop.io/#/

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2012
N.L.R. 5/12

Part VII PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

Section 81 High visibility apparel

81. A worker whose duties are regularly performed in areas and under circumstances where he or she is exposed to the danger of moving vehicles or heavy equipment shall wear distinguishing apparel containing highly visible material suitable for daytime or night time use, as appropriate.

Part X FALL PROTECTION

Section 139 Training requirement

139. A worker shall not use fall protection equipment after January 1, 2012 unless he or she has completed a training program on fall protection prescribed by the commission.

Part XII POWERED MOBILE EQUIPMENT

Section 274 Pedestrian and equipment traffic

274. (1) Where practicable, designated walkways shall be used to separate pedestrian traffic from areas of operation of mobile equipment.

(2) Where it is impracticable to provide designated walkways, adequate safe work procedures to minimize the possibility of collision shall be used in hazardous work areas, including

(a) use of a traffic control system;

(b) enforcement of speed limits for mobile equipment; and

(c) a requirement for the pedestrian and the mobile equipment operator to acknowledge each other's presence before the pedestrian proceeds through the hazardous area; or

(d) other effective means.

Part XVI TRAFFIC CONTROL

Section 373 Traffic control

373. (1) For the purpose of this Part, "traffic control" includes

(a) patrol vehicles;

(b) traffic lights;

(c) signs;

(d) barricades;

(e) cones;

(f) detours;

(g) traffic control persons; and

(h) other techniques and devices necessary according to the particular circumstances.

(2) Where the movement of vehicular traffic constitutes a hazard to workers, effective traffic control shall be provided.

(3) Traffic control procedures shall at minimum meet the requirements of the Department of Transportation and Works "Traffic Control Manual for Roadway Work Operations" or procedures established by a municipality that have been approved by the minister and all relevant specifications.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (3), an officer may require those additional or alternate traffic control procedures and equipment that are necessary in the particular circumstances.

Section 374 Traffic control person

374. (1) A traffic control person shall be employed

(a) according to the criteria established by the Department of Transportation and Works "Traffic Control Specification"; or

(b) where required by an officer and where one may be necessary under the particular circumstances.

(2) A traffic control person shall

(a) stand in a safe position, preferably on the driver's side of the lane under the traffic control person's control, be clearly visible, and have an unobstructed view of approaching traffic; and

(b) be positioned at least 25 metres away from the work area unless circumstances or space requirements, including working at or near an intersection, dictate otherwise.

(3) Where 2 or more traffic control persons are working as a team, the employer shall ensure that one traffic control person is responsible for traffic co-ordination and for the initiation of changes in the direction of traffic flow in order to create a cycle which results in minimum traffic delay and maximum protection for the workers.

(4) Traffic control persons shall perform their duties responsibly and in accordance with the Department of Transportation and Works "Traffic Control Manual".

(5) A person shall not work as a traffic control person after January 1, 2011 unless he or she has completed a traffic control training program prescribed by the commission.

Section 375 Traffic control signals

375. (1) An employer shall ensure that where traffic control persons are working as a team, methods of communication shall be determined and understood by personnel using them before the commencement of the flagging operations.

(2) Where traffic is diverted onto dusty surfaces, good visibility shall be maintained by the suppression of dust through periodic application of an approved substance.