Highways England is currently working on innovative techniques that will further improve road worker safety.
This comes after its ‘Eliminating road worker risks from crossing live carriageways’ initiative won the Judges’ Special Merit Award at last month’s Highways Magazine Excellence Awards.
Hailed as a ‘game-changer’ by the judges, the initiative means road workers no longer have to put up traffic-management signs in the central reservation of two, three or four lane dual carriageway roads – saving 3.7 million crossings a year. This mainly applies to overnight work taking place over a short period.
Highways England worked with partners TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) and the Road Worker Safety Forum (RoWSaF) to research the safety implications of carriageway crossings for both road users and road workers. On-road trials were carried out which found that road user safety was unaffected when signs were only installed on the nearside verge.
Ian Smith, team leader for Highways England health and safety division based in Bedford, said: “This is a great achievement but we will not stop here. We are already working on innovative techniques which will further improve road worker safety while working on live lanes and near to traffic management vehicles. We are aiming to massively reduce these remaining levels of risk by the end of 2016.”
Mark Pooley, road worker safety programme manager based in Guildford, said: “The removal of carriageway crossings, while installing and removing temporary traffic management, has resulted in a huge reduction in risks to road workers right across our network.
“Typically six crossings had to be undertaken by road workers to install and remove a single sign on the central reservation (the A frame, sand bags and the sign). Up until recently there were typically five temporary traffic management signs on the central reservation, so you can imagine how much working practices have been improved.”
The service providers that carried out the on-road trials during normal, scheduled road works were Enterprise Mouchel, Chevron, Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald, HW Martin and Connect Plus.
The on-road trials started in 2010-11, with the industry safety guidance for road works being revised progressively.
To see a full list of winners from this year’s Highways Magazine Excellence Awards visit www.hmea.co.uk.