A risk-based TTM approach

Brett Gliddon, General Manager Transport Services at the NZ Transport Agency.

It’s been an incredibly busy six months. While we wait for the final Government Policy Statement (GPS), my team is preparing for the next National Land Transport Programme period (NLTP 24-27) so we can hit the ground running.

A key area we’re progressing is our approach to Temporary Traffic Management (TTM) on state highways in partnership our suppliers. Working together we aim to drive efficiency and effectiveness to help improve value for money and customer experience.

This year, we’ve completed national reviews of TTM at over 800 state highway worksites and considering how we improve safety and customer experience. We’ve identified areas to resolve, like leftover TTM equipment, unattended sites, and confusing layout.

We also want to leverage our new risk-based approach to TTM. The New Zealand guide to temporary traffic management (NZGTTM), was published last year in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA 2015) and WorkSafe’s Good Practice Guidelines.

Since then, we’ve moved at pace to transition from the compliance-based Code of Practice for Temporary Traffic Management (CoPTTM) to the new risk-based approach. Our NZGTTM pilots in Northland, Horowhenua Manawatu, Marlborough, and North Canterbury are testing different work activities like cyclic maintenance, emergency response and processes and are gearing up to make this our standard approach to TTM on our state highways with some new contracts starting in July.

Our contracts with our suppliers are being updated to ensure a consistent national approach to risk-based TTM planning, set up, maintenance and monitoring across state highways.

An updated state highway assurance programme will be trialled over the winter and launched in time for the 2024/25 summer maintenance season.

From October we’ll start reporting TTM cost and performance metrics via the Road Efficiency Group (REG). The GPS directs NZTA and all other RCAs to start reporting their cost and performance metrics to show efficiency in the way transport projects are delivered.

Faster adoption of the new risk-based guidance means the NZTA will retire CoPTTM by end-October 2024. This means NZTA will no longer use CoPTTM as the basis of our decision-making for TTM at worksites on our state highway network.

As we progress our transition from CoPTTM to the NZGTTM, we’re being asked questions about roles and accountabilities.

Do I have to apply the NZGTTM or CoPTTM? No. The NZTA is in the process of adopting the NZGTTM on our state highway network, to meet our legal obligations as a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) under HSWA. The only mandatory H&S requirements are HSWA and the applicable parts of WorkSafe’s Good Practice Guidelines. WorkSafe will not consider what guide is used – it will consider how PCBUs have identified and managed their risks. The NZGTTM is a specifically designed to support a risk-based approach to TTM.

WorkSafe states: “While PCBUs should check if there are widely used control measures for [a specific] risk (such as industry standards), they should always keep their specific circumstances in mind. A common industry practice might not be the most effective or appropriate control measure to use.”

Is applying the NZGTTM a big shift in accountabilities? Actually no. These accountabilities have existed since the Health, Safety at Work Act 2015 has been in place. CoPTTM may have made people feel safer if they applied it – but in fact, as outlined by WorkSafe’s statement above, applying CoPTTM does not remove a PCBU’s accountability to identify and manage risks.

What is the role of the Temporary Traffic Management industry steering group (TTM ISG)? The group is made up of representatives from TTM suppliers, utilities, contractors, engineering consultants, road controlling authorities and road workers. The role of the TTM ISG is to represent the views of the collective TTM industry and to take the lead on how the industry can adopt the new guidance at worksites.

The NZTA is playing a support role to the TTM ISG to redevelop the wider sector’s training requirements – this will create an uplift in skills that the TTM sector needs to support the shift to risk-based TTM. A new national training and competency framework has been proposed which will see all major training move to new standards endorsed by NZQA − these will be independent of NZTA.

Next steps

The NZGTTM gives contractors and TTM suppliers the tools to focus on the risk to people at work sites, to plan and mitigate the risks to road workers and road users to keep them safe.

I encourage NZTA contractors to get on board. We want to work with the transport sector to put people and safety first, and to champion efficient and effective TTM practice so that people working on our roads or travelling through work sites return home safely, every day

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