Traffic management involves supporting workers on the road by providing safety equipment such as cones and barrier fences, as well as putting up traffic lights and diverting traffic through a series of road closures and diversions.

When you approach a section of road works in your car, you’ll often see vans with cones and other equipment in the back, and it is these teams of traffic management operatives who have put the protective zone in place to look after those who carry out the works. The temporary fencing that protects workers and any road closed signs are put in place by a team booked to support specialist teams, implementing any closures and diversions for a limited period before taking the cones and any temporary fencing away at the completion of the project.

Without traffic management operatives the roads would be hazardous places for teams tasked with carrying out repairs to the road surface or any drainage. The teams who put up the temporary traffic lights or who stand with manual stop-go boards are trained to control traffic in such a way that the risk to workers is minimised and that any drivers forced to take a diversion can do so in a way that causes minimal disruption.

Of course, there are times when traffic management teams are called out in emergencies, such as burst water mains on a road or when the police require their help after an accident. Traffic management teams can be on the scene to provide support diverting traffic away from the area while the authorities and specialist teams get to work on making repairs without the dangers of fast moving, free-flowing traffic all around them.

How to keep traffic management operatives safe in winter

Being on the front line puts traffic management operatives at increased risk of injury during the winter months, often being out of the van putting up cones in the dead of night while the roads are quiet – but not entirely empty. During these periods, and – of course – during the daytime and rush hours in particular, there are a number of ways in which traffic management operatives can be kept safe:

  • Hi-vis clothing. This one is a given and a form of PPE, but one that should never be overlooked. Hi-vis jackets and trousers will help operatives to stand out to oncoming headlights when closing lanes or roads, or implementing diversions.
  • Safety helmets with lights. Another important piece of safety equipment, with a handy addition. A safety light on the top of your helmet will not only illuminate the immediate surroundings but make operatives more visible to other road users, too.
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