Driving surfaces

Key messages

  • Every traffic route in a workplace must have a driving surface that is suitable for its purpose.
  • The surface of any traffic route must not be so uneven, potholed, sloped or slippery that any person could slip, trip or fall.
  • Traffic routes should be maintained to provide good grip for vehicles or people.

The build quality of outdoor traffic routes should be similar to the standards for public highways.

Questions to ask

Your risk assessment should answer these questions:



Suitable construction materials include:

  • hot rolled asphalt (or tarmac) for flexible, outdoor road-type routes;
  • concrete or another rigid material for other types of route; and
  • semi-rigid 'slab'-type constructions.


The type of operation that takes place on a surface should influence decisions about its design and construction.


The type of ground or surface that the route is laid on will also make a difference to which type of paving is most suitable.


A surface gradient (or road camber) of about 1 in 40 should be enough to provide drainage from most areas.

Run-off water should be gathered into gullies or drainage channels wherever possible

All gratings and channel units should be strong enough to bear loads suitable to their location.

Connections for surface run-off from roads and hardstandings may have to include 'interception facilities' where there is a risk of oil or chemical spillage.

Repair and maintenance

Traffic routes should be maintained to provide good grip for vehicles or people. For example, they should be roughened if too smooth, gritted or sanded if slippery, and kept free of oil, grease, rubbish and other debris. A surface providing extra grip may be needed on sloped driving surfaces.

Do not allow potholes to develop. If you find a pothole, repair it promptly.


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