What are the Australian Safety Standards for Car Parks?
What Car Park Safety Standards are there in Australia?
We explore the key points surrounding Traffic Management Regulations, Safe Car Park Standards and Workplace Regulations in Australia.
A workplace car park is usually attached to a workplace, for example shopping centres, hospitals, airports and some offices. The car park may also be physically separate from the workplace itself, but is provided for employee use. Workplace car parks are often also available for public use.
Who Is Responsible for the Safety of a Car Park?
The person who manages or controls a workplace (which can include a workplace car park) has a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the workplace and the means of entering and exiting it are safe and without risks to health. The same legal duties apply regardless of whether the car park provides free or paid parking.
Management or control of a workplace depends on factors like ownership and who can make changes to the workplace. For example, in a shopping centre:
If centre management owns and operates the car park, they have full management and control and they are the duty holder.
If a private operator owns and operates the car park, they have full management and control and they are the duty holder.
If centre management owns the car park and leases it to a private operator, the question of who has management or control depends on the terms of the lease agreement. For example, the private operator (the tenant) may not have management or control over structural elements of the car park, so for anything requiring structural work (such as repairing a pothole) centre management (the landlord) is the duty holder.
So What are the Local Vehicle Safety Laws for Car Parks?
Each State in Australia have their own Car Park Safety Standards. Please ensure you visit your local Governing Body's Official Website for full information on how to design a car park layout that meets Australian and State-Level Compliance Standards.
Parking areas are shared spaces with high car movement and pedestrian traffic. People need to stay alert when using these spaces and not go into ‘autopilot’. Risks are associated with pedestrian, bike and car accidents, slips and trips, and physical assault.
Managing Safety Risks When Designing a New Car Park.
Pedestrians and vehicles are constantly moving in, around and out of car parks. Common hazards include slips, trips, falls and collisions with structures (for example safety barriers), vehicles or pedestrians. Those with management or control of a car park should identify and control all hazards in the car park, including the entries and exits.
For example, they should:
consider the suitability of designated areas for staff parking, including the distance to the workplace and the layout of the carpark
ensure pathways, entries and exits are slip-resistant under wet and dry conditions
ensure that good housekeeping is maintained, for example through systems for identifying and removing oil leaks, pooled water, rubbish or debris
ensure that delivery vehicles and forklifts are separated from pedestrians
erect physical barriers between pedestrians and vehicles or create clearly marked and adequate walkways and pedestrian crossings
ensure the car park is fully accessible for people with special needs or disabilities
provide clear signage for speed, load and height restrictions
erect signage encouraging cars to back into parking spaces, to minimise instances of people walking behind cars reversing out
use CCTV to monitor activities in the car park, including in stairwells
provide a system for car park users to report hazards
ensure delivery vehicles and forklifts are only operated in designated zones that are well distanced from pedestrian areas
implement a traffic management plan for loading areas and customer parcel pick up zones
ensure vehicles exiting the car park can safely merge with road traffic
It doesn't matter if the Car Park is outdoors, a multi-level car park or even the parks outside small retail stores, there are a number of Safety Compliance Practices which must be followed to ensure people and cars a safe - and Building Owners are able to mitigate their risk of damage and liability.
Personal Safety in Car Park Areas.
Appropriate levels of lighting in car parks helps people to feel safe when walking to their car. People are often leaving and returning to their cars alone, and whilst robbery and assault is rare, adequate lighting will certainly decrease the risk of this happening.
Many cars converge at the car park entry/exit barrier gate. It is necessary to ensure clear and safe lane separation at these bottleneck traffic points.
As well as personal safety, lighting should also make it easy to locate a vehicle, illuminate the interior of the vehicle and assist with visibility when driving in or out of the car park. Correct lighting in your car park will also help to minimise the risk of falls and accidents for pedestrians.
Car Park Safety Planning Best Practices and Tips
Separate pedestrians, bikes and cars.
Provide clear signage on maximum speed, location of exits, flow of traffic, and the level users are on in multi-storey car parks.
Install speed calming devices.
If you, as the employer, do not own or manage the car or bike park used by your workers, discuss any safety issues with the owner.
If you own or manage the car or bike park, provide clear instructions on maximum speed limits and other relevant signage at entrances and throughout the parking area.
Use speed calming devices, such as speed humps or strategically placed bollards, to keep speeds to the maximum limit.
Provide pedestrian walkways and bike pathways that are separate from vehicle traffic.
Allow riders to safely store bikes. Separate the bike storage area from vehicle traffic. Bike riders should not have to cross the path of vehicle traffic to get to elevators or stairwells when accessing and leaving the bike storage area.
Provide bike riders with clear signage on the routes to follow to reach bike storage areas.
Concentrate on your surroundings and drive slowly in car parks. Be especially attentive as you search for a car park or exit sign, and when you near the end of your journey and start to think about what you are going to do next.
Pay attention to areas outside your direct line of sight, such as spaces between parked cars and behind walls.
Take notice of pedestrian walkways, bike pathways and exclusion zones marked out on the floor of the car park.
Always check behind your car before and after starting your journey.
Be aware of your surroundings and look out for cars and bikes.
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 a device while you walk. You need to see and hear what is happening around you.
Anticipate that car drivers and bike riders may not see you as they are often focused on looking for a parking space or exit. Be prepared to wait a few extra seconds before you continue walking.