Safety of small workgroups on roadways

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #195 - 2002

Authors: N. Haworth, M. Symmons & Christine Mulvihill

Full report in pdf format [1.8MB]


This project focus on the risks to small workgroups at, for the most part, transient sites where the formal safety controls are less elaborate than for large group, longer term work. The scope of the project includes all VicRoads employees who undertake some of their duties in close proximity to traffic. The project comprised the following stages:

  • a review of literature and international practice
  • an examination of the risks to VicRoads employees
  • analysis of potential risk controls

Accurate Australian data on the number of employees killed or injured while working in small workgroups on or near the roadway was not able to be obtained from Coronial, workers compensation or road crash databases. The safety measures that have been evaluated can be grouped into

  • measures to reduce vehicle speeds
  • measures to increase the visibility of worksites and
  • measures to increase the visibility of workers.

Observations of the behaviours of employees and measurements of the speed of passing traffic were made at a range of metropolitan and rural worksites. In addition, a survey of all VicRoads employees identified as working on or near the road was undertaken. It was concluded that work areas differ markedly in terms of exposure to risk, perceived hazards, types of safety measures in place and perceived effectiveness. Working alone or in very small groups was considered to be a high-risk activity because conspicuity of the worksite was generally low, speeds of passing traffic were generally not reduced and there was limited safety equipment.

Sponsoring organisation: VicRoads