A Highways England initiative, which has improved the safety of road workers, has been hailed a ‘game-changer’.
The initiative does away with the need to install traffic-management signs on central reservations of dual carriageways – saving an estimated 3.7 million road crossings by road workers annually.
Highways England worked with the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) 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.
The three partners scooped a prestigious “Special Merit Award” in the Highways Magazine Excellence Awards, where the initiative was described by judges as a “game changer” for safety in the industry and the ‘one clear winner’.
Ian Smith, team leader for Highways England health and safety, 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, 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.”
Photo: copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.