Managing traffic at organised public events is an important part of ensuring the workplace is without risks to health and safety. Vehicles and powered mobile plant moving in and around, reversing, loading and unloading at an event site create a serious risk of death and injury to workers and participants, patrons and volunteers.
Events may include recreational, social, sporting, fundraising, artistic or other occasions.
Event traffic includes buses, cars, motor bikes, trucks, forklifts, cranes, tractors, electrically powered carts and pedestrians.
A person conducting a business or undertaking has a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, workers and others are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking. This duty includes implementing control measures to prevent people being injured by moving vehicles at the workplace.
A person conducting a business or undertaking also has a duty to consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities and to provide the information, training, instruction and supervision necessary to protect people from risks to their health and safety.
A person conducting a business or undertaking for an event can include an event organiser.
They are usually the person or entity whose name principally appears on the application forms for the event. An event organiser may also be the business contracted to organise the event on behalf of another organisation.
Event organisers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of event patrons, participants and workers including volunteers, and should establish procedures or traffic management at events.
Event management can be broadly grouped into three phases:
- preparation - ‘bump in’
- event staging, and
- event dismantling - ‘bump out’.
The risks and control measures for each of these three stages should be actively considered and documented in a traffic management plan.
The preparation and dismantling phases involve significant construction activities. The traffic management risks relating to these activities should be managed.
More information on traffic management is provided in the Code of Practice:
Construction work, and the Traffic Management Guide
Issues to consider at each event phase include:
- loading and unloading equipment and goods at permanent and temporary venues e.g.
- amusement devices, building and catering supplies
- where possible, restricting public access to the area during bump in and bump out
- the type of vehicles and traffic routes and how these may differ during each event
- public transport, vehicle types and peak periods
- walkways and crossings
- parking and parking control
- crowd control and movement and crowd safety
- emergency service access, and
- effective monitoring of and response to traffic management throughout the event
Particular consideration should be given to eliminating or minimising the risk of workers and members of the public being hit by vehicles during car and motor bike racing events.
The most effective way to protect pedestrians is to eliminate traffic hazards. This could be achieved by designing the event layout to eliminate interactions between pedestrians and vehicles. Examples could include not allowing vehicles to be used in pedestrian spaces or providing separate traffic routes so pedestrians cannot enter areas where vehicles are used.
Where this is not reasonably practicable, the risks must be inimised, so far as is reasonably practicable. This can be done by careful planning and controlling vehicle operations and pedestrian movements at the event.
During car and motor cycle events engineering control measures should be used to separate vehicles from workers and pedestrians. Seek advice from suitably qualified and experienced people if required. Control measures should be appropriate for the vehicle type, speed and environmental conditions and may include physically altering the roadlayout or appearance to actively or passively slow traffic down using bollards, speed humps and chicanes.
Using traffic controllers, marshals, parking attendants and spotters during peak periods who are competent to carry out this work should be considered.
Consultation, co-operation and co-ordination
The event manager should contact the local road authority to find out their requirements where an event interacts with a public road system. There may also be local council or other authority requirements that must be met.
Health and safety at an event is more easily achieved when people talk with each other about the potential health and safety risks and work together to find solutions to the risks.
Often event organisers and other business operators involved in event activities will both have responsibility for health and safety matters. In these situations, event organisers should communicate with all relevant people like workers, volunteers, contractors, suppliers and the local road authority or council, and work together in a co-operative and co-ordinated way so all risks are managed. This could include pre-event planning meetings to identify potential traffic hazards and decide what needs to be done to control the risks.
Also consider risks to the health and safety of third party delivery drivers, contractors and their sub-contractors, for example relating to selection and training procedures, maintenance of vehicles, use of regular or ad-hoc drivers and incident records.
Information, training, instruction and supervision A person conducting a business or undertaking has a duty to provide any information, training, instruction or supervision necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety.
A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that all workers including contractors know and understand the traffic rules, safety policies and procedures for the workplace. It is important to make sure visiting drivers are aware of the layout of the event site before accessing the site including the route they should take and the safety procedures for parking and unloading vehicles.
Unauthorised personnel should not be allowed to drive vehicles at the event site.
Other people at the workplace, like customers and visitors, must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and must take reasonable care not to adversely affect other people’s health and safety. They must comply, so far as they are reasonably able, with reasonable instructions given by the person conducting a business or undertaking to allow that person to comply with the WHS Act.
Traffic routes should be separate for vehicles and pedestrians at an event site.
Easily identifiable collection and drop off areas with waiting space to avoid interfering with traffic flows should be provided for the general public, disabled people, taxis and public transport.
Traffic routes should be:
- one-way if possible with adequate passing space around stationary vehicles
- designed with separate entries and exits for large vehicles and include turn around points for vehicles
- wide enough for emergency vehicle access and the largest vehicle and its load using them
- designed so there is enough visibility at intersections so drivers can see and be seen,
- clearly sign-posted to indicate restricted parking, event patron parking, speed limits, vehicle movement and other route hazards.
Loading and unloading areas should be designed or changed to avoid the need for vehicles to reverse where there is potential for pedestrians or other vehicles to interact. All users of loading and unloading areas should have clear sight of other users.
Emergency services access and their ability to get to an incident should be managed.
Entry and exit areas should be adequate for emergency services and provisions made for emergency vehicles to pass through pedestrian traffic areas.
Walkways and crossings
Consider providing pedestrian barriers at entries and exits to stop pedestrians walking in front of vehicles. Other control measures to consider include:
- using railings and bollards
- installing interlocked, chicaned or hinged gates so they open towards the pedestrian — these methods create a stop or pause in the pedestrian’s movement
- ensuring traffic routes are wide enough for pedestrian safety where separation is not possible
- providing mirrors for pedestrians and vehicles in addition to other controls
- using separate, clearly marked footpaths or walkways
e.g. using lines painted on the ground or different coloured surfacing and signs, and
- providing pedestrian routes they are likely to follow so they are unlikely to take potentially hazardous shortcuts.
If pedestrians have to cross vehicle routes at an event site consider:
- using overhead walkways
- providing physical barriers with inward opening gates
- using traffic light systems
- using traffic controllers to aid pedestrians
- providing clearly visible ground markings, lights or signs, and
ensuring pedestrians and vehicles can easily see each other.
If onsite parking is provided it should be separated from workers’ and patrons’ vehicles.
Consider providing patron vehicle parking in designated areas away from event work areas.
Walkways leading to and from parking areas should be separated from vehicle routes, clearly marked, signed, adequately lit and unobstructed.
Disabled parking should be clearly identified, easily accessible and located as close as possible to an event site, facilities and entries and exits. Access should be provided between a car parking space for disabled people and an adjoining pathway or building.
Entries and exits should be managed efficiently so they do not create crowds that could interfere with traffic flows. Consider separate entries and exits for workers and event participants.
Entries and exits can be safely managed by: providing an adequate number of gates providing clearly marked exits to eliminate confusion ensuring gates open on time providing adequate numbers of staff including security staff, and providing a designated area for bag and identification checks if required.
Traffic management plans
A traffic management plan documents and helps explain how risks will be managed at an event. This may include details of:
- the event summary
- contact details of key personnel
- a traffic control plan describing how to control the movement of traffic affected by the event activity
- approvals for the event and road closures from police and road authorities
- traffic control measures including drawings of the layout of barriers, walkways, signs
- and the general arrangements to warn and guide traffic around, past or within an event site
- travel paths for vehicles including entries and exits and routes for special or heavy vehicles
- traffic crossing another stream of traffic and special event clearways
- pedestrian routes
- the number of entries and exits and how they will be managed
- monitoring and controlling site access provided to delivery vehicles throughout an event
- parking arrangements including over-flow parking
- provisions for people with disabilities e.g. ramps at entries and exits
- the responsibilities of traffic controllers in the workplace
- the responsibilities of people expected to interact with traffic in the workplace communication between the traffic monitors and event management in case of an emergency, and how to implement and monitor the effectiveness of a traffic management plan.
For bulk transfer of raw materials, product or livestock onto or off an event site, freight vehicle movements including trains and trucks should be co-ordinated with the relevant transport company.
The traffic management plan should be monitored and reviewed regularly including after an incident to ensure it is effective and takes into account changes at the workplace.
Workers should be aware of and understand the traffic management plan and receive information, instruction, training and supervision. Site induction should include the traffic management plan.
More information on how to manage traffic at a workplace and at events is provided in the:
- General guide for workplace traffic management
- Special events guide
- Guide to organising public events in the ACT, and
- Event management plan checklist and guide.
Information on managing pedestrians at events is provided in:
- Crowd Control at Venues and Events
- There may be further material available in the State or Territory where the event is being held.
Further guidance on consultation is in the Code of Practice:
- Work health and safety consultation, co-operation and co-ordination.
Further guidance on the risk management process is in the
Code of Practice:
How to manage work health and safety risks.
Codes of practice, guidance material and other resources are available on the Safe Work Australia website (www.swa.gov.au).