OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 12 General Safety Precautions

Section 194 Vehicle traffic control

Traffic hazards

This section addresses the importance of protecting workers from traffic hazards. As examples, it applies to

(a) workers at a construction site assisting with the positioning, loading or unloading of dump trucks;
(b) workers grading lumber at a sawmill yard where forklifts or front end loaders are used to move logs or lumber;
(c) workers collecting shopping carts in a parking lot;
(d) a police officer speaking with a motorist at a roadside location that is not protected from moving traffic by barricades or other effective traffic control; and
(e) workers at a road construction project where work takes place within an area protected from “public” traffic by barricades.

When determining the presence and degree of danger from traffic to workers, the employer should consider the speed of the moving vehicles and the duties and work location of workers relative to vehicles and powered mobile equipment. Subsection 194(7) lists numerous traffic control devices. Published by the Transportation Association of Canada, the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada presents optimum standards and preferred methods in the design, dimensions and application of traffic control devices.

For more information
Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada
September 1998. Transportation Association of Canada.

High visibility apparel

The risk of injury from traffic hazards should first be controlled or eliminated through the use of engineering or administrative controls. Highly visible apparel should be considered to be a second line of defense against such hazards. Environmental conditions such as lighting, rain, fog, snow, smoke and dust can significantly affect the visibility of apparel.

Workers on foot and exposed to the hazards of moving vehicles are required to wear highly visible apparel that is clearly distinguishable. Depending upon conditions at the work site, highly visible apparel may be fluorescent, retroreflective, or a combination of both. A fluorescent material is one that absorbs ultraviolet light in daylight conditions and then emits it as visible light. This property allows the material to radiate more visible light than actually falls on it, making it appear brighter that a non-fluorescent material under the same conditions.

A retroreflective material is one that reflects light back in the direction of the source of the light. Retroreflective materials are preferred over bright colours under dark conditions. The OHS Code does not require fluorescent or retroreflective materials used on apparel be of a particular colour or size.

Apparel is considered to be clearly distinguishable if it is of a colour that contrasts with the surroundings in which it is worn. The greater the contrast between the background and workers’ apparel, the more distinguishable the workers. Brighter colours are more distinguishable than duller colours under daylight conditions, while bright colours are less effective than fluorescent colours under low light conditions.

Visibility enhancing trim often has both fluorescent and retroreflective properties. Stripes on the arms and legs of apparel can indicate the motion and nature of the object they cover. Such apparel can be more easily distinguished than apparel without stripes.

For optimal performance, apparel should be kept clean and worn as intended – done up properly around the body with no loose or dangling parts, and worn in a way that ensures that no other clothing or equipment obscures the high visibility materials.

Additional information and guidance can be obtained from CSA Standard CAN/CSA Z96-09, High-visibility safety apparel.