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Brian Wise: Time to improve road worker safety compliance

Expert consultant Brian Wise has identified 2015 as being a pivotal year for the road maintenance industry.

Companies face the welcome challenge proved by a major raft of new road building projects - the biggest investment in the UK road network since the 1970s.

But they also face the more troublesome task of trying to reverse a worrying trend for increased accidents involving mobile workers.

Brian Wise, a road industry expert at Belton Consulting, has set out his thoughts in Digital Compliance: The Road to Safer Road Maintenance; the latest report from MyMobileWorkers.

He states:

“Ambitious road expansion plans across the United Kingdom will mean even more workers being out on the road and in potentially dangerous situations.

“It is the responsibility of each and every business undertaking work on the highways network to ensure that their mobile workers are provided with every means possible to stay safe.

“With the alarming rise in road worker fatalities and injuries on UK roads, using every means to ensure their safety is of paramount importance.”

Worrying Trend

The UK Government recently announced investments of £15 billion in the road network, with around 100 different new schemes providing an additional 1,300 new lane miles.

It increases concerns, however, about the safety processes to protect the thousands of mobile workers who will be involved in these new highways projects.

Data from the Highways Agency shows that there were 317 serious injuries caused to road workers on British roads between 2009 and 2013. This contrasts with a figure of 104 for the period between 2003 to 2008.

There were also 674 prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) between 2013 and 2014 for companies deemed to be in breach of safety laws.

These resulted in more than £18 million being paid out by business who were found guilty of health and safety failings.

Digital Compliance

It is against this background that more companies are turning to digital solutions to ensure better safety compliance amongst their mobile workers.

Cloud-based mobile management systems (MMS) allow companies to integrate their safety plans into the day-to-day routines of mobile workers. Handheld devices are used to provide on-the-spot compliance checklists and safety specifications.

The systems can also be used by field workers to send visual images which provide head office managers with real-time evidence that safety procedures are being followed correctly.

Brian Wise states:

“The use of cloud-based technology through mobile devices is helping to improve compliance amongst road workers.

“We need tools that automatically alert us if there is any possibility of non-compliance with safety procedures are happening.

“Major benefits are gained from central audit and compliance functions, meaning accurate information is right first time.”

The report looks at the increasing importance of proper safety and increased efficiency for those companies hoping to supply services to the Highways Agency.

Value for money and a sound safety record are two elements that the Government agency look for in their chosen supply companies. 

Are you doing enough to keep your road workers safe? Find out in our free guide.

Download our guide to road worker safety

Source | Full image credit: FreeImages.com/Joakim Buchwald

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