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Hazard Related Topics

General Principles of Access

Safe access to places of work is a fundamental requirement of successful safety management. Such access not only includes workers but delivery vehicles, mechanical plant and visitors.


  • The nature of the project will define the degree of definition required for safe access.
  • Circulation for distribution of plant, materials and personnel within the site.
  • Emergency Access for fire appliances and ambulance during construction.

Safe access to places of work

The workplace must be designed and managed to give the maximum protection to workers whilst travelling around the site and also safe access to their place of work. Wherever possible pedestrians should be segregated from working operations by marked, barriered walkways. Such walkways should be routed away from particular hazards such as areas where work is taking place overhead. Where it is not possible to segregate vehicles and pedestrians adequate refuges must be provided at intervals of not more than 20 metres and effective means must be provided to warn pedestrians of the approach of vehicles and the possibility of being crushed or trapped. Any door or gate leading onto a traffic route must be sufficiently separated from the route to enable pedestrians to see approaching vehicles before stepping onto the route. Safe access to places of work may be by means of safe roadways, walkways, gangways, staircases, ladders and scaffolds and all must be kept clear of rubbish and adequately lit at all times thus avoiding tripping and slipping hazards. All loading bays must have at least one exit for pedestrians.

Vehicles and Traffic Routes

There should be a traffic control system on the site to control the movement of vehicles in order to avoid danger to pedestrians. This should be a one way system wherever possible. There should be safe site entry and exit points and adequate turning room. Where it is not safe for pedestrians to use a gate intended primarily for vehicles then at least one door must be provided for the use of pedestrians and be marked accordingly. The vehicle routes should be marked out and avoid sharp bends, blind corners, narrow gaps, places with limited head room, overhead cables, steep gradients, adverse cambers and areas adjacent to trees. Where it is not possible to avoid low clearances or obstructions then steps must be taken to warn drivers and persons riding on the vehicles of the approaching danger. Temporary structures such as scaffolds or falsework should be protected and barriers provided at excavations and alongside watercourses. Trained banksmen or signallers should be used to control high risk situations such as when vehicles are reversing or visibility is restricted. Parking areas for vehicles should be clearly marked and kept away from the operations on the site.


  • All visitors to the site should be logged in and out.
  • All visitors should be issued with required protection such as hard hats.
  • All visitors should be escorted to and from their place of business.
  • Any unauthorised person on site should be challenged and escorted off site.

General Public


  • The general public should not be allowed on site unless they have business reasons for being there such as viewing houses on a housing project. In such cases they should be escorted at all times.

Vehicular Access


  • Vehicular access to the site and parking areas.
  • Any restrictions on the highway routes giving access to the site and identify specified routes if required.


  • Routes should provide unobstructed safe access with good all round visibility.
  • Routes should not affect the structural stability of adjacent buildings.
  • Routes should not damage underground services.

Pedestrian Access


  • Pedestrian access to the site.


  • Cleaning and clearing of access to avoid tripping and slipping hazards.
  • Access routes should avoid areas where there is work in progress overhead.

Emergency Access


  • Routes for the access of emergency vehicles


  • That fire fighting vehicles are large, unwieldy, heavy and require significant turning areas.
  • How emergency vehicles can be given access to the most distant points from a highway.

Circulation & Distribution

Define any requirements or restraints regarding circulation and distribution of vehicles, plant and materials within the site. Consider the need to avoid safety zones, overhead electricity and telephone cables etc.

Road Works


  • If the Project involves works adjacent to, near, or on a public highway, the health and safety plan must identify the hazards.
  • The contractor shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 8 of the Road Traffic Signs Regulations.
  • Relevant licences and/or agreements need to be obtained from the department of transport or local authority or police as appropriate.

Relevant Legislation