Road working safety is like going to the gym
As restrictions ease and we start returning to normalcy, we face a new time-bound challenge. Worker and public safety around roadworks and construction sites.
With less traffic on the roads for so long, easing of COVID-19 restrictions will create an unpredictable and unstable environment as traffic returns to a new normal.
What does this mean for road safety?
Risk factors for safety
Safety is like going to the gym, you need to maintain an active, consistent, and deliberate effort to achieve results. If we don’t, we’re prone to making mistakes and getting injuries.
This is particularly relevant when you return to an activity after a period of absence. As humans, we have a tendency to be overconfident because we remember what we used to do. Think about the person who gets on a motorbike again after twenty years.
Three key risk factors for worksite safety:
The public, who are all out of the habit of driving.
Staff who have been offsite and have lost their safety ‘conditioning’
Staff who have been on site are used to lighter traffic volumes.
How do these risk factors materialise on worksites?
Two types of risks
When looking at managing safety we can look at two types of risks:
Constant, background system risk that impacts all of us (e.g. the ever-present risk of having our people in harm’s way)
Risks from lone, single vehicles that are significantly outside the norm (e.g. a single vehicle with extreme speed)
In this blog, we will look at the constant background risk as this is impacted by complacency.
Creating a safe working environment
No one has the ability to forecast road conditions so it’s vital to have feedback loops to understand how we are performing, on a timescale that enables action to reduce risks.
We have been recommending a two-pronged approach:
Gain visibility: Using real-time monitoring to track performance through each section of your worksites.
Proactive alerting: Create alerts to immediately flag excess speeds to staff on site.
But how do you go about this? We segment the worksite into zones covering entry and exit points, as well as any relevant blocks throughout the worksite. Alerts are then set up to notify the STMS or other relevant roles on-site when speeds exceed a defined KPI. More importantly, this provides context to pinpoint the issues so they can adjust onsite behaviour.
Gaining visibility also allows you to track trends over time, exploring alternative traffic management plans, and confirming what works. Increasing agility.
If you have any projects currently running where you’re concerned about safety, we’re happy to provide specific advice.
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