A move to digitally connected ways of working is helping to create a safer, more efficient and compliant highways sector.
These were the key findings from the Driving Change report which looks at the impact of digital technology on today’s highways sector.
The independent study, commissioned by MyMobileWorkers, provides a valuable insight into the way highways businesses are benefiting from cloud-based management, software and apps.
One of the most significant findings was a 26 percent reduction in preventable accidents for those companies using digital management methods when compared to those using a traditional paper-based approach.
The research surveyed MDs and managers of highway businesses throughout the UK to gain a snapshot of a sector which now includes more than 4,000 companies and around 30,000 workers.
Digital tech in highways sector
With so much work carried out on-site, the industry has been slow to adopt to digital management with more than a third (35 percent) of businesses still using manual methods to handle admin - typically, spreadsheets and paper documents.
The three main management challenges faced by highway bosses were found to be:
- Updating customers/clients on progress of jobs
- Inaccuracy of field data collected by highway workers
- Difficulty of quickly identifying job defects
While technology take-up has been slow, the report highlights the benefits the growing use of digital management tools a more companies switch to digital processes, software and apps.
The three main ways that UK highway companies are taking advantage of digital management tools are to:
- Enforce job processes and protocols
- Collect performance data
- Monitor and track jobs in real-time
The research shows how companies who have adopted these methods are enjoying the improved standards of highway worker safety, more effective job monitoring and increased compliance. Some of the main findings from the research include:
Health and safety
It was also found that businesses using a digital approach reported 50 percent less accidents during the previous 12 months than companies using a traditional approach.
The findings highlight the crucial role technology can play in continuing to improve safety standards throughout the highways sector.
The survey identified the main compliance challenges faced by the highways sector as:
- Ensuring safety of equipment
- Carrying out effective staff training
- Making sure safety processes are followed
- Keeping up to date with regulations/legislation
Digital tools and real-time monitoring help managers to maintain compliance with safety protocols integrated into the workflow via on-screen notifications and checks.
The survey also found that the average time taken to complete jobs for businesses using a digital approach was 4.4 hours - more than 50 percent faster than those relying on a paper-based approach.
The use of smartphones, handheld devices and cloud-based systems is transforming the way that information can be collected by highway workers. Switching to a paperless process reduces admin time and improves the quality of data collected.
The overall picture highlighted by the report findings is an industry that’s still finding its way in an increasingly connected digital world. While highways businesses may have been slow to adapt, the move towards digital tools is gathering momentum.
The advantages delivered by cloud-based management, real-time data and automated processes are driving the move away from more traditional management methods.
Graham Whistance, MD of MyMobileWorkers, said:
“We hope that this report not only provides valuable insights for the industry, but that it can be used to inform decisions about safety, compliance and business performance.”