Tool Kit

Work Zone Planning

Employers, prime contractors, and supervisors need to plan ahead and supervise employees to help keep them safe in work zones. Your duties include hazard identification, risk assessment, and traffic planning and control. Use our tool kit and other resources to complete your traffic management and/or control plans.

Planning a work zone

Every work zone has its own unique set of hazards associated with roads, traffic, vehicles, weather, and work activities.

Keeping employees safe requires a well-planned work zone layout and traffic management. You need to ensure that workers know and follow safe procedures to reduce their risk. They need to understand the hazards, use high-visibility apparel and other personal protective equipment (PPE) properly, and communicate with co-workers effectively.

You also need to create a traffic control plan to guide drivers through the work zone efficiently.

Before you start, review what employers and prime contractors need to know about work zone safety and your responsibilities.

Review our information for roadside workers so you know what to emphasize in their training and education.

Work zone risk assessment

When you know the duration of the work, do a risk assessment. You’ll use it to develop and implement a traffic management plan and/or a traffic control plan that is based on the identified risks.

Your plan needs to follow the risk assessment set out in Part 18 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (the Regulation) and the Hierarchy of Controls. Review the 2020 Traffic Management Manual for Work on Roadways (the TMM) for guidelines and diagrams to help you.

An effective risk assessment has 3 steps:

1. Identify the work zone hazards
2. Determine the risk to workers
3. Manage the risks

Traffic management and control

Traffic management requires strategies and actions for reducing safety risks.

Part 18.3.2 of the Regulation focuses on a traffic control plan based on a risk assessment and the Hierarchy of Controls. This requirement takes precedence over the guidelines found in the TMM.

The basic components include:

  • The work zone layout, including provisions for changes as the work progresses
  • Identification of vehicle traffic hazards
  • Written procedures and roles/responsibilities for setting up, maintaining, and removing the work zone
  • A traffic control plan that includes a layout, speed limits, and traffic control devices and their location
  • A communication strategy to inform the public in advance (where possible) about road work and temporary traffic diversion
  • Emergency procedures and what to do in case of an incident
  • A schedule for implementation and review of the plan

In the TMM, a traffic control plan is part of the overall traffic management plan. The information in a traffic management plan will depend on the nature and complexity (category) of your work zone. The information helps your team plan, implement, and maintain a work zone that’s safe for workers and drivers.

Traffic control for emergent or brief duration work
Traffic control layouts
Temporary traffic control devices

Work zone preparation

Once traffic management and control plans are in place, you need to make sure workers are prepared and understand work zone procedures.

If you’re using traffic control persons, you’ll need to provide site-specific training and orientation, and document that it was completed.

Before workers begin the job, review our Roadside Work Preparation Guide (PDF 1MB) with them. It gives you a checklist and form to record your information. The guide covers:

  • Key questions you need to answer as an employer, supervisor, or prime contractor
  • Requirements for a safe work zone
  • What workers need to know and do
  • Hazard identification and assessment
  • Other important things to do

As part of your preparation, make sure you’ve trained workers to properly set up and take down a work zone. Use our Set Up and Take Down of Roadside Work Zones Tailgate Meeting Guide (PDF 675KB) to help educate them.

If your workers handle towing or recovery jobs, review our When is Traffic Control Required for Towing and Recovery? Tailgate Meeting Guide (PDF 501KB) with them at a safety meeting.

If it applies, review our What Truck and Van Drivers Need to Know to be Safe at the Roadside guide (PDF 516KB) with your employees.



Roadside Work Preparation Guide

Use this guide to make your plan for a roadside work zone. It includes tips for preparing your crew, a list of possible hazards, and a form you can fill out to help assess the hazards and reduce the risks.
Tailgate Meeting Guide

Set Up and Take Down of Roadside Work Zones

Setting up and taking down a Cone Zone can be one of the most dangerous parts of roadside work. Use this guide to help keep you and your co-workers safe.
Tailgate Meeting Guide

When is Traffic Control Required for Towing and Recovery?

Use this guide to lead a discussion with towing and recovery workers about when traffic control is required during their work, and what they need to do.

Roadside Work Preparation Checklist

Safety begins before workers get to a roadside zone. Review this checklist with them to help ensure they are prepared, even if they don’t know in advance where the zone will be.

What Employers Need to Know to Keep Roadside Workers Safe

Employers need to provide training, resources, and supervision for employees in work zones. Review this guide to understand your responsibilities, steps to reduce risk, and the requirements for traffic management.