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Temporary traffic management – what you need to know

07 Jul 2022


Stacy Goldsworthy, Technical Manager, Civil Contractors New Zealand

Temporary traffic management in New Zealand is in the middle of a significant change – from a proscriptive compliance-based approach to a risk-based approach.

The industry has traditionally conformed to the requirements of the Code of Practice for Temporary Traffic Management (COPTTM), however the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 required work activities to be assessed for risk and reasonably practical controls to be put in place to protect workers.

In the road corridors, appropriate controls are required for road users, especially vulnerable persons. Under COPTTM, Waka Kotahi was effectively acting in a regulatory role, but under the new way of working the focus will shift to all parties working together to manage risk on temporary traffic management sites.

The new way of working requires a risk management system to be implemented, that provides understanding of the risks associated with the TTM work. This is a requirement under the legislation.

CCNZ supports changes proposed by both WorkSafe and Waka Kotahi NZTA, and has been working actively with these organisations. Significant cultural and behavioural changes are needed to move from a regulatory to a risk-based system. This will take time for all to understand – from road controlling authorities to subcontractors.

A good example of how this approach can work in practice is the Austroads Guide to Temporary Traffic Management, which introduces the concept of lowest total risk, and provides a risk-based approach. When applying the hierarchy of controls the balance between the safety of the workers and road users. Controls should be implemented to reduce risk to produce the lowest total risk.

ISO 31000 is the widely accepted benchmark for risk management and should be observed when developing risk management plans for your business.All stakeholders CCNZ has been in contact with believe the adoption of a risk-based approach is the best way to manage risk associated with TTM activities, and CCNZ has taken the decision to work proactively with Waka Kotahi to refine and develop the New Zealand Guide to Temporary Traffic Management (NZGTTM)

What is the New Zealand Guide to Temporary Traffic Management?
The NZGTTM provides an outline of what will be expected by those operating in the new system.

At this stage it has been through consultation. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has received a significant amount of feedback, and is now consulting with industry and other stakeholders. Key areas were identified in consultation feedback and are being addressed. These are:

Roles and Responsibilities, the Training and Competency Model, Traffic Management Diagrams, the Risk Assessment Framework, Traffic Management Forms, Practice Notes and the Assurance (Audit) Model.

The NZGTTM webpage includes explainer webinars, FAQs, tools, guidance and other information. But simply put, regardless of how work in these areas progresses, you must work out how NZGTTM works within your business and on any road work sites you are responsible for, and how you do this should be based on sound risk management principles.

This is not a new obligation, it is required under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

WorkSafe guidance
The first cut of NZGTTM outlined the core rationale behind the changes. However, it did not provide the level of detail required to enable the change to be successfully implemented. 

CCNZ has actively engaged with Waka Kotahi to address this. In this approach, we have found a willing partner. Already there have been changes proposed to the NZGTTM that are being drafted.

WorkSafe guidance is due for release in the coming months and will provide consistency across the system, as well as clarity around what is expected to manage risk and keep people safe on and around road work sites.

WorkSafe has also produced PCBU’s Working Together: Advice When Contracting. This outlines the expectations of Persons in Control of a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs) and how they should engage with each other on matters of the health, safety and wellbeing of those put at risk.

Roles and responsibilities
Some uncertainties remain around roles and responsibilities due various pieces of competing legislation. This has added to the discussion around who holds key responsibilities for the sign off of Temporary Traffic Management Plans. 

The WorkSafe guidance mentioned above will clarify roles and responsibilities, and is being produced in consultation with industry, Road Controlling Authorities and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

CCNZ’s position is that the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 outlines the roles of a PCBU. It places specific requirements on the PCBU who has primary duty of care and the duty of a PCBU who manages or controls a workplace. 

CCNZ will continue to work with key stakeholders on how the requirements of the Act are meet. Based on the content of the NZGTTM and the upcoming WorkSafe guidance, CCNZ has put forward a proposed statement of the roles and responsibilities of key roles within the system. 

One of the key issues to get alignment on is who provides final approval for Temporary Traffic Management Plans.

Training and competency 
There is universal agreement that temporary traffic management needs to be a career opportunity supported by long-term competency training and recognition of achievement and competence. 

To best achieve this outcome, a NZQA framework is required for the TTM industry. This opportunity needs to be open to all. It will require training support structures and different training outcomes such as adult learning if we are to have an uplift in the standard of training and competency across the industry. 

To achieve this end, CCNZ has written to Waihanga Ara Rau Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council, and is collaborating in forming an adivisory group of industry experts. This was formed in early 2022 to develop a framework alongside industry, which enables those entering into the industry to have a clear pathway for career progression. 

Everyone has different aspirations. Therefore, the framework will look to training and assessment of competency for all. Those wishing to work in the industry will need to be trained for the work activities for which they will undertake. 

This is the minimum requirement for employers. To those that wish to progress their careers the advisory group Waihanga Ara Rau will work with industry to determine what skill sets are required for roles required.  

TTM Planner
The recent Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency Temporary Traffic Management Planner assessment identified there is the need to lift the industry’s skills in this area. This is an outcome CCNZ acknowledges and supports, in addition to improving outcomes for those who design TTM for road work sites.

The NZGTTM outlines changes in responsibility to align with the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act. This extends to the design of Traffic Management Plans. The responsibility resides with those that are creating risk and they have a responsibility to manage risk to workers and road users.

CCNZ has approached Waka Kotahi for an extension to the TTM Planner warrant requirements that were put in place during the summer construction season. To align with the changes proposed in the NZGTTM, Waka Kotahi has indicated it will not be acting to administer a warrant system in the future.

This is a position that aligns with the requirements that PCBU’s creating risk through their work activities are required to understand and manage those risks.

The TTM planning industry requires time to build competency and capacity given the changes expected from the NZGTTM and the upcoming release of the WorkSafe guidance on temporary traffic management.

CCNZ has engaged on behalf of the wider industry with Waihanga Ara Rau to develop a career pathway for those that design Traffic Management Plans. The purpose is to establish a New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) framework for Traffic Management Plan Designers. The outcome may be micro-credentials and/or unit standards that cover risk management and skills/knowledge of TMP design.

Until unit standards are agreed by industry and approved by NZQA, and training materials are available, there is a requirement that those designing TMP’s have training and support.

There is a requirement for an ongoing commitment by PCBU’s who employ TTM designers to continue with the progress made thus far, while we build towards a future state where TTM designers’ skills and experience are recognised by a NZQA approved qualification.

In the proposed absence of a Waka Kotahi warranted system there is the requirement that TTM designers that have not passed the TTM Planner requirements are working to achieve course completion with the required support. This should include a training plan that identifies gaps in the candidate’s knowledge and training opportunities to address.

So where does that leave us?
We are in a transitional phase, and there is a lot of change for businesses to take in. We are moving from COPTTM as a compliance-based set of controls to a risk-based temporary traffic management system.

So, businesses need to make sure they have good risk management processes and work with clients to make sure any risks are understood and managed.

If you need advice or require further information , please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at Stacy@civilcontractors.co.nz.

 

 

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