Manual Handling tips for new Trainee Traffic Management Operatives

Joanne Morgan
October 4, 2023

As a Trainee Traffic Management Operative in the UK, your role involves various tasks, including the setup and maintenance of equipment like cones, frames, and signs. Manual handling plays a significant part in these duties, but safety should always be a top priority. In this blog post, we'll explore safe manual handling practices, the use of aids and mechanisation, and specific considerations for the size and weight of traffic control equipment on low and high-speed roads. Additionally, we'll discuss the importance of proper loading for work vans to ensure both safety and efficiency.

Proper lifting techniques

Always remember to:

  • Bend your knees and keep your back straight when lifting heavy objects
  • Hold the load close to your body in a neutral position
  • Use your legs to lift, not your back
  • Avoid twisting while carrying a load
  • Never lift more than is safe for you to do!


For larger and heavier items teamwork is essential. Coordinate with your colleagues to ensure a safe and controlled lift. Clear communication is key to avoiding accidents. Follow your company’s method statement and risk assessment.

Regular training

Ensure you receive and follow any training on manual handling techniques that your company or agency gives you. This will help you stay up-to-date with best practices and reduce the risk of injury.

Manual Handling Aids

Manual handling aids, such as sack and cone trucks, can significantly reduce the physical strain on traffic management operatives. Use these aids whenever possible, especially for heavy or bulky items. They are designed to make your job safer and more efficient.

Mechanisation with an FLT

In some situations, the use of a forklift truck (FLT) may be necessary for handling particularly large or heavy loads. If you're operating an FLT, make sure you have the appropriate training and certifications. Safety should always be your top priority when using machinery.

Size and weight considerations

On low-speed roads, the size and weight of traffic control equipment may be less of a concern. However, always be aware of the specific requirements for the task at hand. Cones and signs on low-speed roads tend to be smaller and lighter but you may be loading, moving, and setting out many of them in one shift!

On high-speed roads, the size and weight of traffic control equipment become more critical as they need to be larger and more visible to ensure the safety of drivers and road workers. When handling larger signs or cones on high-speed roads, exercise extreme caution and consider mechanised methods whenever possible.

Proper loading for work vehicles

Loading works vans efficiently and safely is essential to prevent accidents and damage to the equipment. Follow these tips:

  • Ensure the load is evenly distributed to maintain vehicle stability
  • Use proper restraints like ratchet straps to secure the load and prevent movement during transit
  • Check that the van's weight capacity is not exceeded, as overloading can affect braking and handling

As a Trainee Traffic Management Operative, your role requires careful consideration of safe manual handling practices. Whether you're handling traffic control devices on low-speed or high-speed roads, or working and loading in the depot, always prioritise safety. Utilise manual handling aids and mechanisation when appropriate, and make sure to receive regular training to stay up-to-date with best practices. Additionally, proper loading of work vans is crucial for both safety and efficiency. By following these guidelines, you can contribute to a safer work environment for yourself and your colleagues while ensuring the smooth flow of traffic on UK roads. On Vocation Training’s Traffic Management course we take an in-depth look at the issues highlighted in today’s blog.

If you would like to register for Vocation Training’s Traffic Management course, please click here

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