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A mill yard traffic management plan provides important, life-saving guidance and direction to workers, contractors, and visitors to ensure the safety of pedestrians, and the safe flow of all vehicles and equipment traffic.
“Wherever you have a constant flow of vehicles and pedestrians, you need to be vigilant,” says Chris Serratore, Health and Safety Specialist at Workplace Safety North (WSN). “The difference in a mill yard is the high concentration of heavy equipment. These operators must remain alert for other vehicles and equipment in the area, as well as workers on foot. A good traffic management plan applies to all travel, loading, and unloading activities in the mill yard.”
Industry firms and health and safety experts worked together to create this new Leading Practices: Mill Yard Traffic Management Plan, which clearly spells out key responsibilities and procedures everyone – including contractors and visitors – must follow when they enter the mill yard.
“A mill yard can be a hazardous place – and like any other high-traffic area – requires extra care and attention,” says Serratore. “New workers and visitors are especially at risk as they may not be used to this type of work environment.” When backing up heavy equipment, blind corners and lack of attention can result in serious incidents and injury. If an operator loses sight of the truck driver during a loading or unloading activity, it’s essential that they stop until the driver is in clear view.
Vehicle drivers and equipment operators must obey posted speed limit, traffic signs, and respect designated routes for traffic and pedestrians.
Pedestrians must use designated pedestrian routes between mill access gates and their work areas, and wear the required personal protective equipment (PPE).
No one has the right of way – Each person in the mill yard is required to exercise due care – whether pedestrian or operator. Vehicle operators must always be on alert for pedestrians and be prepared to stop if the pedestrian does not see them. Pedestrians must make eye contact with operators of vehicles and ensure there is a mutually clear gesture to safely proceed.
Proper supervision includes ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and enforcement of established safety practices and procedures in order to ensure the safety of all.
Vehicle and Heavy Equipment Operators
- Traffic must follow posted speed limits and reduce speed according to road, weather, and fog conditions. In poor visibility you must stop, and only proceed when visibility is improved and it is safe to do so.
- Railway crossings deserve special attention; all equipment and pedestrians must come to a complete stop, checking both directions and ensuring the lights and bells are not activated.
- At a minimum, when entering the mill yard, all workers must wear the following personal protective equipment: CSA-approved safety boots and hardhat, safety glasses, and reflective safety vest.
- Always use three-point contact when mounting or dismounting equipment.
- All equipment must be maintained in good operating condition with all lights and safety devices, including back-up beepers in good operating condition.
- In some mills, the use of two-way handheld radios is prohibited while operating vehicles or mobile equipment. The operator must park the equipment in a safe location prior to use.
- In some mills, the use of cellular phones is prohibited while operating vehicles or heavy equipment. The operator must park the equipment in a safe location prior to use. Individual firms must assess this potential hazard and, where necessary, implement procedures to meet their internal needs.
- Truck drivers must be seen by the loader operator at all times. If the loader operator does not see the truck driver, they must not proceed to load or unload the truck.
- Firms use various methods to address truck driver safety during the loading or unloading process including:
a. Drivers remain in the cab of the truck until the loader operator is finished loading or unloading.
b. Before loading or unloading, the driver of the truck must communicate to the loader operator whether they will remain in the truck during the loading or unloading, or whether they want to oversee the loading or unloading. If the driver wants to oversee loading or unloading, they must remain a minimum of ten feet (10’) at the rear or in front of the truck. The driver must be visible to the loader operator at all times.
- If the truck driver feels they must attend to their truck for any reason, they must get the attention of the loader operator. Only when the loader has attachments lowered to the ground and the operator has signaled the truck driver should they approach their vehicle.
- All drivers of vehicles travelling in the yard must make eye contact with heavy equipment operators in the area and be acknowledged before proceeding.
- At no time are truck drivers allowed on top of the loads without an approved fall protection system.
- Heavy equipment will not be used as a means of transportation. Heavy equipment must have a functional reason to be in the area.
- Vehicle operators must always be on alert for pedestrians and be prepared to stop if the pedestrian does not see them.
- Industry leading practice is to have designated pedestrian walkways identified in work areas.
- At a minimum, when entering the mill yard, all pedestrians must wear the following personal protective equipment: CSA-approved safety boots and hardhat, safety glasses and reflective safety vest.
- Pedestrians are expected to respect the flow of vehicle and equipment traffic, and utilize pedestrian walkways where available.
- The use of cellular phones or handheld radios is prohibited while walking on site; the user must stop and ensure they are out of harm’s way prior to use.
- Pedestrians must always be on alert for vehicles and equipment, and make eye contact with operators to ensure there is a mutually clear gesture to safely proceed.
Leading Practices: Mill Yard Traffic Management Plan is available to industrial firms as a free download from Workplace Safety North.
For assistance and recommendations to improve or enhance your current Traffic Management Plan, please contact your Workplace Safety North Health and Safety Specialist.