Case 295 – Temporary traffic signals used for health and safety reasons


A burst water main has rendered a local road unusable on one side. This has led to a lengthy use of temporary traffic signals so that vehicles can pass the obstruction on the side of the road not affected. Enquirer asked the local authority how long this is going to last. The response was that the road is closed for “health and safety reasons”. Enquirer thought it more likely that the road is closed for Road Traffic Act reasons and an ongoing insurance dispute.

Panel decision

The complainant’s original query was not about the traffic lights nor the partial road closure but rather the reason for their protracted use. The delay is not a health and safety matter.
The local authority should be encouraged to explain the reasons for installing temporary traffic signals and for their extended use more clearly. The lights are there as a straightforward road safety measure to deal with the effects of a carriageway closure. The issue of whether the repairs to the road have been delayed unnecessarily is not a matter within HSE’s jurisdiction.

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