Incident Lessons Learned: Traffic Safety

Controls such as barricades protect workers and bystanders.

7 June 2024


Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) receives a number of calls and emails about potential safety concerns across the university. One call involved a contractor who was using a boom lift to install flashing on a pedway above the roadway. There were no barricades or signage in use and no worker on the ground directing traffic away from the worker.

HSE was able to visit the work site and have a conversation with the contractor. The contractor was very polite and receptive to the feedback. Barriers were present nearby and were erected immediately so that work could continue safely.


This was a near miss incident in which a vehicle could have contacted the boom lift that the worker was using, which could have led to significant injury or a potentially fatal fall. Using engineering controls such as barricades and administrative controls such as directing traffic can provide an extra layer of protection to prevent these incidents from occurring.

Culture of Care

The Culture of Care calls for all employees to take responsibility for their own safety and that of others including to stop unsafe activities. The U of A employee who called in this concern did an excellent job of watching out for someone else who was in an unsafe situation. 

In a situation where you are unable to take direct action to help protect others, calling in a concern to the appropriate authority can help ensure action is taken. That action will be non-punitive and will focus on improving the safety for everyone at the work site.

Call to Action

All members of the University of Alberta community who see something they think may be unsafe are encouraged to report it. This is an excellent way to watch out for others if you cannot take direct action.

  1. If it is a health, safety and environment concern, contact HSE or email If it is an urgent or after-hours concern, contact the Unified Control Centre at 780-492-5555 and request a call back from the HSE Officer On-Call.
  2. If it is a security or personal safety concern, contact U of A Protective Services (UAPS) at 780-492-5050.
  3. If it is a building-related concern, contact the maintenance desk at 780-492-4833 or report via For after-hours or emergency maintenance concerns, call 780-492-5555.
  4. If it is a life-threatening emergency, call 911 and then call UAPS.

The University of Alberta is committed to the safety, health and well-being of our faculty, staff and students. Every day, we advance this commitment to safety through the Culture of Care.