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Storage Access and egress Lighting Ventilation Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians

Introduction

Car parks are an area of high vehicle and pedestrian traffic effectively creating ‘shared zones’.

All parties need to maintain awareness when using the car park and not go into ‘autopilot’.

Signage should provide users with clear instruction on the flow of traffic, location of exits, and what level they are on (in multi-storey car parks).

Risks are associated with vehicle accidents, pedestrian and vehicle accidents, slips and trips and physical assault.

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Storage

Residential and commercial carparks can sometimes have storage areas for excess or unwanted items of furniture, supplies and in some cases cleaner’s materials. If domestic chemicals are stored in bulk they will need to be appropriately labelled.

Tips

  • Keep storage areas tidy.
  • Use proper lifting techniques when retrieving items.
  • Check that the access or egress route is clear of vehicles.

Potential harm

Hit by an object
Poisoning
Musculoskeletal disorders
Identified Hazards and Controls

Musculoskeletal injury

Cause

  • Lifting, bending and over reaching.
  • Use correct manual handling techniques to lift items in storage.
  • Use trolleys and lifting equipment.
  • Use approved ladders and do not reach above head height to move items.
  • Follow procedures for shelf stacking, i.e. heavier items to be stored low where they cannot fall and cause injury.
  • Train workers who use the storeroom in manual handling techniques. Large or heavy items should be stored at low and easily accessible heights to minimise the demands of handling.
  • Frequently handled items should be placed within easy reach.
  • Smaller, lightweight and infrequently handled items should be stored at the higher levels.
  • It should be easy to place items into the storage unit and take them out.
  • The storage system should accommodate the size and shape of the items being stored.
  • Provide fit for purpose ladders designed to Australian standards.

Exposure to chemicals

Cause

  • Exposure to substances or inhalation of fumes.
  • Check safety precautions and the storage requirements on the relevant safety data sheets.
  • Take care when removing chemicals from storage.
  • Use personal protective clothing in case of any leakages.
  • Hazardous chemicals stored in bulk will require labelling under the Globally Harmonised Labelling System (GHS).

    A hazardous chemical does not need to meet the labelling requirements under the WHS Regulations if the chemical is a consumer product with the original label on its container and if it is reasonably foreseeable that the hazardous chemical will be used in the workplace only:

    • in a quantity that is consistent with consumer household use
    • in a way that is consistent with consumer household use, and
    • in a way that is incidental to the nature of the work carried out by a worker using the chemical.

    The following example shows how to distinguish between a consumer product and a workplace hazardous chemical:

    Toilet cleaner is sold in 750 ml bottles for domestic use and is sold in 20 L containers to commercial cleaning businesses. The 750 ml bottle is intended for domestic use and does not need to be labelled in accordance with the WHS Regulations.

    However, it is reasonably foreseeable that, due to the package size of the 20 L product, it would be used in a workplace rather than in a domestic situation. Therefore, the 20 L product must be labelled according to workplace labelling requirements.

  • Make safety data sheets (SDS) readily available.
  • Provide training and instruction and supervision for the decanting, storage and handling of chemicals.
  • Conduct regular inspection to check that chemical containers are appropriate for storage and accurately labelled.

Hit by moving object

Cause

  • Storage area door opening into trafficable areas.
  • If you need to access and retrieve items from the storage area, determine the direction of the door opening and determine whether you have enough space to exit safely without entering the traffic area.
  • If the employer is not the owner of the car park, you can request that the doors into storage areas open inward instead of out into traffic.
  • A traffic management plan may be needed if large items are being removed from storage and will enter into the traffic area.

Further information

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Access and egress

Car parks vary in size and capacity and it may be necessary to clearly indicate the entry and exit as well as other directional requirements. The means of access can also cause tension when card systems fail and traffic builds up behind a stranded vehicle.

Tips

  • Clear signage and pathways to entry and exits.
  • Safe access to lifts stairways and emergency exits.
  • Follow the directional arrows.

Potential harm

Pedestrian accident
Car accident
Identified Hazards and Controls

Boom gate procedures

Cause

  • Failure of boom gate to operate.
  • Traffic backing up behind security boom gates.
  • If you swipe a pass in order to enter the car park via a boom gate then have it ready to use before you get to the gate. Stopping and rummaging through the glovebox, console, hand bag or briefcase only causes delays for other users (who may vocalise or express their discontent).
  • If you cannot locate your access card, there is usually a help button for assistance.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to travel in case you get caught up in car park delays.
  • If the employer is not the owner / manager of the carpark then discussion will need to be held with the carpark owner or management regarding safety issues.
  • If the employer does own the carpark the employer should maintain the systems that operate the boom gate as per the manufacturers requirements.
  • Consider the impact a boom gate failure will have on the functioning of the car park and surrounding streets. An attendant may need to be on hand during peak traffic times to quickly respond to issues.

Car accidents

Cause

  • Vehicles traversing the wrong way.
  • Read the signage and check the road surface for directional arrows. Car park directional flows are designed to improve traffic flow and reduce the likelihood of vehicle accidents.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to travel.
  • If the employer is not the owner / manager of the carpark then discuss with the owner the safety issues.
  • If the employer does own the carpark the employer may be able to take some sort of corrective action against offending drivers (such as reminders of correct use of car park, warnings and potential banning offending drivers from using the car park).
  • Check that the signage is visible i.e. not obscured by pillars or faded signage and maintain as required.

Pedestrian incidents

Cause

  • Pedestrian traffic not separated from vehicular traffic.
  • Access to stairs and lifts requires pedestrians to cross the path of vehicles.
  • Pedestrians using access ramps to enter or exit car park.
  • As a driver, be alert to pedestrians. They may be obscured behind pillars or other cars.
  • Drive slowly in the carpark and stop for pedestrians.
  • As a pedestrian, be alert to vehicle movement (you can usually hear an engine or tyre noise) and be prepared to stop as the driver may not see you.
  • Use the pedestrian exits that are marked (lift or stairs), and do not use the access ramps unless they are marked with a pedestrian walkway.
  • If the employer is not the owner / manager of the carpark then discuss with the owner the safety issues.
  • If the employer does own the carpark, review the flow of traffic and pedestrian access and egress points. Do the two cross over? Is there a need for a pedestrian crossing, walkway or other traffic separating device?

Further information

Legislation

Codes

Guidance

  • Building codes contain information on carpark facilities
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Lighting

Appropriate levels of lighting in car parks help people to feel safe when walking to their car. Lighting should also make it easy to locate your vehicle, illuminate the interior of the vehicle and assist with visibility when driving in or out of the car park. In most car parks, the lights are motion sensored and will generally switch off when there's no activity for a long time.

Tips

  • Good lighting should be available when car park is in use.
  • Allow your eyes to adjust to changes in light levels.

Potential harm

Slips Trips Falls
Assault
Identified Hazards and Controls

Trips and slips

Cause

  • Inadequate lighting in carpark.
  • When you move from outside (in the sun) to inside (electrical lighting) the carpark you may need to stop and wait for a few seconds while your eyes adjust to the different lighting levels.
  • If you walk a distance to your parked car then consider wearing flat shoes for the journey to avoid tripping or falling on uneven surfaces.
  • If the employer is not the owner / manager of the carpark then discuss with the owner the safety issues.

Physical assault or robbery

Cause

  • Blown lights, or automatic sensor lights not working
  • If you notice lights aren’t working let the parking manager or building owner know.
  • Try to park in an area that is well lit.
  • Walk to your parked car with a colleague.
  • Some car parks have security guards on duty; you might want to ask them to escort you to your vehicle.
  • If the employer is not the owner / manager of the carpark then discuss with the owner the safety issues.

Further information

Legislation

Codes

Guidance

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Ventilation

Enclosed or underground car parks require adequate ventilation to prevent toxic gas build up. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas emitted by operating petrol, gas and to a lesser extent diesel powered motors.

Carbon monoxide is colourless, tasteless and odourless, and in poorly ventilated workplaces it has the potential to be undetected and therefore build up to dangerous and even fatal levels.
(Reference )

Read more

Tips

  • Good ventilation is essential in underground carparks.
  • Turn your car engine off once you park.
  • Close windows.

Potential harm

Headaches
Impaired motor skill
Breathing difficulties
Identified Hazards and Controls

Exposure to build-up of carbon monoxide

Cause

  • Inadequate ventilation in carpark.
  • Be aware of dangers and keep your exposure level to a minimum (e.g. keep your windows closed).
  • Do not leave your car idling once you are parked.

    Carbon Monoxide occurs because hydrocarbon fuels are seldom completely burnt in combustion motors. Poorly tuned or infrequently maintained motors are likely to produce higher and more toxic concentrations of Carbon Monoxide.

    Although gas motors using LNG or LPG produce significantly less Carbon Monoxide than petrol motors, caution must still be exercised, particularly in poorly ventilated areas.

    Diesel motors produce much less Carbon Monoxide then either petrol or gas. They are less of a problem because toxic diesel exhaust gases are unpleasant to inhale and a hazardous build up is easily identified and remedied.

    However, diesel motors should not be run continuously in poorly ventilated enclosed areas.

    In general, hazardous Carbon Monoxide levels will not build-up where combustion motors are used outdoors or in open spaces where there is good air movement.

  • If the employer is not the owner / manager of the carpark then discuss with the owner the safety issues.
  • The carpark should be well ventilated either by natural air movement or mechanical ventilation.

Further information

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Drivers, cyclist and pedestrians

Carparks are an area of high vehicle and pedestrian traffic effectively creating ’shared zones’. Drivers need to be aware of pedestrians and give way to them as required. Pedestrians can include the elderly, disabled and children who may not have the ability to get out of the way of an oncoming vehicle quickly.

Tips

  • Separate pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
  • Provide clear signage.
  • Install speed calming devices.

Potential harm

Pedestrian accident
Potential fatality
Identified Hazards and Controls

Accident involving pedestrians

Cause

  • Driver inattention; pedestrian inattention.
  • Poor visibility.
  • Failure to separate pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
  • As a driver
    • Concentrate on your surroundings and drive slowly in carparks to avoid a collision. As you are nearing the end of your journey your concentration may wander as you start to think about what you are going to do next and you may not be paying attention to the task at hand.
    • Pay particular attention to areas outside your direct line of sight, i.e. between other vehicles and behind walls of partitions.
    • Be aware of pedestrian walkways, bicycles pathways and exclusion zones marked out on the floor of the carpark.
    • Always check behind your vehicle before and after starting your journey.
  • As a pedestrian
    • Be aware of surroundings and look out for vehicles or bicycle traffic.
    • Walk within designated pedestrian zones if provided (these could be painted on the ground or marked out with bollards or fencing).
    • Avoid looking at or listening to an electronic device whilst walking. You need to see and hear what is happening in your surroundings.
    • Anticipate that drivers of moving vehicles may not be able to see you as their attention is on looking for an empty car space, so be prepared to wait a few extra seconds before proceeding.
  • If the employer is not the owner / manager of the carpark then discuss with the owner the safety issues.
  • Carparks should have clear instructions on maximum speed limits and relevant signage at entrance and throughout the carpark.
  • Speed calming devices (such as speed humps or strategically placed bollards) should be utilised to keep speeds to the maximum limit.
  • Pedestrian walkways should be provided that are isolated from vehicle traffic.

Cyclists using/storing bikes in carpark facilities

Cause

  • Inattention to other carpark users including vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Access to or egress from cycle storage places the rider in the path of vehicles.
  • As a cyclist
    • Cycle slowly though the carpark and observe relevant signage and cycle zones (if applicable).
    • Be aware of areas where direct line of sight is obscured.
    • Wear high visibility clothing and a helmet at all times when riding in carpark.
    • Do not use electronic hearing devices whilst riding or walking your cycle in the carpark.
  • If the employer is not the owner / manager of the carpark then discuss with the owner the safety issues.
  • Clearly marked cycle ways and separate from pedestrian walkways.
  • Separate the cycle storage area from vehicular traffic and allow riders to safely store bikes. Cyclists should not have to cross the path of vehicular traffic to get to lifts or stairwells when accessing and leaving the storage area.
  • Provide signage with clear instructions for cyclists on routes to follow to reach cycle storage area.

Further information

Legislation

Codes

Guidance

  • Building codes containing information on carpark facilities