The Ranty Highwayman)
I finally got my street works “ticket” through the post after resitting the qualifications to supervise road works which has to be renewed every 5 years.
I thought it might be useful to share a document with you which most people won’t have come across (why would they) which is the main reference for people undertaking road works in terms of how traffic (in the widest sense) is managed on a temporary basis.
Safety at Street and Road Works (SSRW) has been around for many years, but the current October 2013 is now a code of practice which is very important as in general, following a code of practice will be a way of demonstrating that one has complied with the law. SSRW is no different;
The part highlighted in red states;
Warning: Failure to comply with this Code is evidence of failing to fulfil the legal requirements to sign, light and guard works. Compliance with the Code will be taken as compliance with the legal requirements to which it relates.
In other words, if you follow the guidance, you’ve complied with the law. This is not to say you can do things differently, but you would need to be doing better in my view. This document could perhaps be seen as a legal minimum. The part in green says that situations on motorways and 50mph + dual carriageways is dealt with differently. So, the document deals with most UK streets and roads, although in Scotland it is recommended rather than mandatory. Where a situation isn’t covered, then people are directed to seek advice from their supervisor, manager or other competent person and so SSRW is aimed at road workers as well as those supervising works.
SSRW is broken into sections;
- Part 1 – Basic principles,
- Part 2 – Operations,
- Part 3 – Equipment and vehicles.
Part 1 deals with the backgrounds issues (such as the status of the document mentioned above) and also the things to consider before anyone goes near a shovel.
Part 2 is the meat of the document. It starts with a reminder that there is a fair bit of planning to do before anyone gets to site and for planned works, someone with competence should have visited the site to plan the works and to undertake risk assessments where appropriate. For unplanned works (i.e. emergencies), there is still a need to plan, but the works may need to change as they progress.
Part 2 also talks about risk assessment and analysing traffic flow and composition (in the widest sense), the layout of road and streets, with commentary on how things might change as the work progresses. We than have advice on how works should start in terms of setting out the most basic signage which is then built on and can lead to really complex layouts. The principle here has certain signs and management tools (such as the humble cone) being set out in a certain way and certain order. When the works are complete, this “stuff” is usually removed methodically and in reverse order.