Design and layout of road systems

Plan traffic routes to give the safest route between places where vehicles have to call.

Make traffic routes wide enough for the safe movement of the largest vehicle permitted to use them, including visiting vehicles and taking into account likely obstructions like parked vehicles.

Use one-way systems if you can. They are much safer, and easy to signpost and enforce.

Avoid traffic routes passing close to vulnerable things (like fuel or chemical tanks, or pipes), or any open and unprotected edge.

Do not allow vehicles to pass close to anything that is likely to collapse or be left in a dangerous state if it is hit, unless it is well protected.

Ensure that there are safe areas for loading and unloading

Avoid sharp or blind bends on vehicle routes wherever possible.

Junctions and rail crossings should be avoided if possible, and be clearly signposted and marked to show right of way (the train always has right of way at a level crossing).

Make entrances and gateways wide enough. Where possible there should be enough space for a vehicle (for example a breakdown or courier) to stop without causing obstruction.

Set sensible speed limits and clearly signpost them. Where necessary, use suitable speed reduction measures, for example road humps or bollards to restrict the width of road.

Give prominent warning of any height restrictions, both in advance and at the obstruction itself. Any potentially dangerous obstructions such as overhead electric cables etc., need to be protected.

Where possible, mark and signpost the routes on open areas or yards.

A signaller (banksman) may be needed to supervise vehicle movements.

Provide screens or other protection for people who are at risk from exhaust fumes, or to protect people from anything that might fall from a vehicle.

Restrict access to vehicles where dangerous substances (like petrol or hazardous chemicals) are stored, and where vehicles are refuelled.

Where maintenance work has to be carried out on or near roads, vehicle traffic should be kept away from those doing the work. This may involve the use of cones or barriers, or closing the route.

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Construction of roads

The law requires that traffic routes have a surface suitable to the purpose of the route, and that they should not have obstructions, or anything that might make a person slip or trip over.

Wherever possible, roads should:

  • Be constructed of tarmac, concrete or another suitable material.
  • Have firm and even surfaces, and be properly drained.
  • Overly steep slopes should be avoided.
  • Steep slopes, if they are unavoidable, should be properly signposted.
  • Slopes should especially be avoided in areas where lift trucks and other similar plant operate, unless they are designed to operate on gradients.

Roadways should be maintained to provide good grip for vehicle (for example gritting in icy conditions).

Potholes should not be allowed to develop, and if they are found they should be repaired promptly.

Temporary workplaces and unprepared roadways

Temporary workplaces, (for example some construction sites or forestry operations), often have routes for vehicles and pedestrians which change as the work progresses.

It is important that these routes, including any intended changes, are carefully planned, as they should comply with the same basic safety standards as permanent routes.

It is important for employers to make sure that all drivers and pedestrians know which routes they should use.

Many workplaces, (for example construction sites, quarries, farms, etc.) contain 'unprepared' routes such as unsurfaced roads or open ground for vehicle traffic. These routes should conform to the same basic standards as 'prepared' roads, (ie they should be suitable for their purpose, have firm and even surfaces, be properly drained, and should avoid steep slopes).

Temporary roadways and unprepared routes can increase the risk of accidents. Consequently, there will usually need to be an increased emphasis on:

  • Driver competence.
  • The provision of information and instruction for drivers
  • Traffic management, for example the use of temporary road signs and traffic lights.
  • Supervision of drivers, vehicle activities and other employees.

Increased preventive safety checks may also be necessary, as unprepared roads may cause more wear and tear to a vehicle.

Safety banks may be needed on some routes to prevent vehicles running over open edges, or to indicate a safe route. They should be high and wide enough to stop a vehicle, and to absorb its impact should it run into the barrier.

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