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Road Works Safety

Without careful management, road works sites can be hazardous for road users and road workers.

Road works are a necessary part of a road’s lifecycle, including during initial construction, upgrades, maintenance and rehabilitation. Road works usually take place while roads are still used by traffic and unless the traffic is well-managed, work sites can become complex and unpredictable, and can greatly increase risk.

According to the CAREC Road Safety Engineering Manual 2: Safer Road Works, research has shown that the risk of a serious crash at or in a work site is 3-5 times higher than on any other section of the road. The Safer Road Works manual presents the current best practice for road safety at work sites, emphasizing:

  • a “hierarchy of controls” approach to control the hazard and reduce risk at worksites: risk elimination (such as such as traffic diversion), engineering controls (such as safety barriers), administrative controls (such as reduced speeds) and personal protective equipment (such as high visibility vests).
  • the importance of designing safe Traffic Management Plans (TMPs) and having them approved for safety by the road authority
  • the six-zone concept for designing, implementing, and reviewing TMPs (early warning zone, advance warning zone, taper zone, safety buffer zone, work zone, and termination zone)
  • close attention to the safety of road workers
  • good practice in the use of signs and delineators at road works
  • safe operating instructions for traffic controllers.

The webinar Road Safety at Roadworks: High Speed Roads – Traffic Management provides practical guidance on managing risk during road works.

The Star Rating Demonstrator is a freely available tool with the iRAP online software, ViDA. With the Star Rating Demonstrator, it is possible to explore the impact that this Safer Roads Treatment has on risk.

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