When construction or utility work affects traffic on public roads, there is a risk both to workers and to ordinary drivers and passengers. The priority of a traffic control person (TCP) is to protect workers and the public from accident and injury.
Traffic control persons protect workers and the public by regulating traffic flow. If you’re working as a TCP, you can’t do other work or have additional duties.
Public traffic has priority over heavy equipment. But you will have to stop traffic when the job requires it. Otherwise, keep traffic moving at a normal or reduced speed to avoid tie-ups. With your help, work will go ahead safely and efficiently. But let me go over the main points now.
- The most important point is simple: Pay attention.
- Ensure that the Traffic Control Person is properly trained
- Do not be distracted by talking to anybody. If you must give directions or instructions to drivers or equipment operators, be clear, simple, and brief.
- Always face oncoming traffic but do not stand on the travelled portion of the roadway.
- Stay alert to work going on nearby. Do not get backed over by your own equipment.
- Stand where you can see and be seen by approaching traffic for at least 150 m (500 ft).
- Stand alone. Do not let a group gather around you.
- Stand at your post. Sitting is hazardous because you cannot fully see or be seen by drivers.
- Adjust where you stand to account for road, weather, and speed conditions. Traffic must have room to react to your direction to stop.
- Always have a quick escape route ready in case a driver does not see you or disregards your signals.
- The Highway Traffic Act requires all drivers to stop or slow down when a TCP displays their sign. However, you are not law enforcement. Report any dangerous motorists to your supervisor and keep a pad and paper with you to jot down licence plate numbers.
- Remember that emergency services (i.e., ambulance, police, and fire vehicles) has priority over all other traffic. When two TCPs are working together, you should always be able to see each other to coordinate your STOP/SLOW signs. If you cannot see each other, a third TCP should be assigned to keep you both in view.
- If using a two-way radio to communicate with another TCP, establish clear voice signals for each situation and do not change them. Avoid unnecessary chit-chat and test the units before your shift.
- Remove or cover any traffic control signs at quitting time or when traffic control is suspended. Drivers can be confused by signs still in place when no work is going on.
- Always review and follow company Safe Work Practices and Safe Job Procedures.
NOTE: A traffic control person must never be used to direct traffic for more than one active lane in the same direction, or if the posted speed limit is greater than 90 km/h.
- A safety vest that meets the requirements of CSA standard.
- Eye protection—it is dusty and bright out there.
- A STOP/SLOW sign that meets requirements of the construction regs.
- If working after dark, TCPs must wear clothing with retroreflective silver stripes encircling each arm and leg. It is also good practice to have reflective tape on your hard hat, use a flashlight with a red cone attachment, and place flashing amber lights ahead of your post.
- Always follow the company PPE Policy
How to use the Stop/Slow Sign
- When you show the STOP side to approaching traffic, hold up your free hand like this.
- Hold the sign firmly in view of oncoming traffic.
- Give motorists plenty of warning. Do not suddenly flash STOP when a driver is too close.
- When you show STOP, clearly indicate where you want traffic to stop. When traffic has stopped, you may move to a point on the road where traffic in that lane can see you.
- When you show the SLOW side, motion traffic to keep moving slowly. Do not bring traffic to a complete halt. When drivers slow down, use your free hand to signal them to keep moving slowly.
- Make sure that the STOP-SLOW sign is clean, undamaged, and meets height and size requirements.
- If you are working along a two-lane road with traffic moving in both directions, you’ll have to coordinate your signals with the TCP on the other side.
- Where two lanes are reduced to one, make sure you stop traffic in one direction before letting traffic through from the other direction.
- Coordinate your efforts with nearby traffic signals to avoid unnecessary delays, tie-ups, and confusion.
- Place the TRAFFIC CONTROL PERSON AHEAD sign at a distance that gives motorists adequate warning of your upcoming presence.