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What Are Chapter 8 Barriers?

Chapter 8 barriers are traffic and pedestrian separators that conform to the guidelines set out in the Ministry for Transport’s 2009 publication entitled Traffic Signs Manual. Chapter 8 of this manual describes “Traffic Safety Measures and Signs for Road Works and Temporary Situations” that should be adhered to in the United Kingdom.

There are three parts to the document; part one relates to the design of signs and safety measures, part two describes operations (how and where to place signs and safety measures), and part three is an update to the guidance offered in chapters one and two, in accordance with The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016.

View Chapter 8 Here:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Chapter 8 Compliance

Safety barriers must comply with the directives given in Part 1, and specifically section D3.10, and Part 2, Section O4.11. Some specific details relevant to the purchasing of Chapter 8 barriers are that:

  • Barriers should be visible by day and night
  • Barriers alongside excavations greater than 300 mm in depth in high duty areas should be able to withstand crowd pressure and be at least 300 mm clear of the edge of the excavation.
    • Lesser pedestrian trafficked footways may use other approved barrier systems that are rigid enough to guard pedestrians from traffic, excavations, plant and materials and withstand wind pressures.
    • Barriers should be stable under adverse weather conditions and be or appear to be substantial depending on the usage.
    • In order to avoid a haphazard appearance, different kinds of barriers should not be mixed.
    • Barriers should be marked so that they stand out conspicuously in contrast to the works behind them and are visible by day and night.
    • Pedestrian barriers and rails may be red and white as diagram 7105 with vertical posts coloured red. Base supports should not protrude more than 300 mm into the path of pedestrians and any vertical edge should be not more than 25 mm high.
    • Pedestrian barriers should be of sufficiently solid construction to guide the blind and partially sighted.
    • Vertical posts to traffic barriers should be coloured red and must be supported at the base in such a way that no part of the structure projects more than 300 mm towards the carriageway beyond the face of the barrier
    • Lightweight barriers may be used where there is no risk of pedestrians encountering the works
    • All elements of lightweight barriers should be sufficiently stable to withstand wind buffeting from passing traffic and to prevent any part being blown into the live carriageway or presenting a hazard to traffic.
    • Any lightweight barrier used should be installed at a constant height above the carriageway surface, be of conspicuous colour and be maintained in clean condition to ensure its visibility at all times.

Please note: This is a summarized list explaining the specific points to be aware of when purchasing barriers. For full guidance on requirements and placement of traffic and pedestrian barriers, please refer to the official publication.

Non-Compliance Common Issues

While the Traffic Signs Manual isn’t legislation, by not conforming to the guidelines set out in the publication, you are opening up yourself to serious legal issues should an event occur that causes risk to the public, property or employees.

The guidelines were produces to help employers confirm to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and the Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978, whereby all clients, employers and employees are to establish and maintain safe systems of work.

The document itself has no statutory force, but many of the principles outlined in Chapter 8 are also covered in The Red Book; also known as the Safety at Street Works and Road Words, which does have legal backing under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 as well as Article 25 of the Street Works (NI) Order 1995.

The Red Book

The Safety at Street Works and Road Works Code of Practice came into force in its current state on the 1st October 2014 and covers the measures necessary to comply with section 65 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA) and section 174 of the Highways Act 1980, and equivalent acts for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Under this Code of Practice, pedestrian barriers must have:

  • A smooth and rigid handrail at between 1-1.2m above ground level
  • A visibility panel (a panel that improves the visibility of the barrier (i.e. not just a top handrail))
  • A tapping rail (a low rail for visually impaired or blind people to allow them to register the presence of a barrier)

Barriers should also be joined into a continuous line, and they must be adequately resistant to wind buffeting to prevent them falling over.



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