Emergent or Brief Duration Work – When Is Traffic Control Required?

Roadside work can be dangerous, and moving traffic can pose a serious risk to roadside workers.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from traffic hazards is to build an effective traffic control zone to separate your work area from passing vehicles, and reduce the risk of injury. In order to determine if, and which type, of traffic control measures are needed in the following scenarios, you first need to assess the risk:

  • Emergent work: (requiring less than five minutes, such as a vehicle needing a jumpstart or fuel)
  • Brief duration work: (requiring less than 15 minutes, such as a stalled vehicle)
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Assess the risk

  • 1. Work Duration: Will the work take less than 15 minutes?
    YES / NO
  • 2. Sight Distance (length of roadway ahead visible to a driver): For the posted speed limit, is the minimum sight distance met?
    50-70 km/h  100 metres
    80-90 km/h   170 metres
    100-110 km/h   250 metres
    120 km/h   300 metres
    YES / NO
  • 3. Traffic Volume: Is the estimated traffic volume in the lane(s) you’ll be entering less than five vehicles per lane per minute?
    YES / NO
  • 4. Environmental Conditions: Is visibility unrestricted (no fog, heavy rain, blowing snow, etc.) and/or are road conditions good (not slippery)?
    YES / NO
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Determine if traffic control measures are required

Control your exposure – Do as much work away from passing vehicles as possible to reduce exposure time.

  • If answers to all four questions are Yes, no traffic control measures are required.
  • If answers to one or two questions are No, a traffic control measure may be required.
  • If answers to three or four questions are No, additional traffic control measures are required.
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Determine appropriate traffic control measure(s)

Traffic control measures include temporary traffic control devices (TCDs) such as cones, message signs, flashing arrow boards, rumble strips, and traffic control persons (TCPs) to manage the flow of traffic.

If you determine that a traffic control measure is required:

  • Ensure you have the correct TCDs for the required work zone layout, as specified in the 2020 Traffic Management Manual for Work on Roadways (Traffic Manual).
  • Proceed to set up your work zone, following layouts specified in the Traffic Manual.
  • Inform your supervisor if you do not have the correct equipment or are unsure of the required layout.
  • Inform your supervisor if a TCP is required. E.g. available TCDs do not meet the minimum requirements per the Traffic Manual or if single lane alternating traffic is required.
  • Delay work until the appropriate TCDs are positioned and any other required
    measures are in place.
  • Follow the requirements of part 18 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

Review the Road Safety at Work Hazard identification and Risk Assessment Tool Kit for more information.

For additional resources for roadside worker safety, visit ConeZoneBC.com.


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