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Road worker safety was highlighted at a recent media event at the A-one+ Area 12 Tingley depot in West Yorkshire.

Seven different media partners including regional BBC news teams joined the Highways Agency and road workers from A-one+ to highlight how dangerous working on the strategic road network is, focusing on the verbal and physical abuse that operatives can face, what the company is doing to tackle these issues and what part the public can play to support this important safety message.

A-one+, the joint venture between CH2MHILL, Colas and Costain, showcased three innovations that have been developed to improve road worker safety.

  • The Intellicone wireless sensor network that turns ordinary traffic cones into an electronic perimeter which detects breaches and activate an audio-visual alarm to warn roadworkers that a vehicle has entered a closure
  • The simplified traffic management layout that has significantly reduced the number of signs set out in advance of roadworks, and has now been used over 22,000 times by A-one+ saving over three quarter of a million road crossings by roadworkers
  • Impact Protection Vehicles with 360 degree camera systems which are mak-ing use of emerging technology to trigger alarms if a road-user is approaching a stationary IPV in a live lane.

The event used recorded CCTV footage from on-board an IPV showing the impact when an HGV collided with the back of the IPV placing road workers and road users lives in danger. Widespread use of this footage on regional news TV and local media websites has helped increase driver awareness of the dangerous job road workers have.

Also on hand at the event were two A-one+ roadworkers who have experienced these risks first hand. Members of the media were able to interact with them and hear in their own words the day-to-day issues they have to face whilst carrying out their work.

Kevin Raeper was supervising a closure recently on the A1033 when he was verbally abused and threatened. A road-user, unhappy that the road ahead was closed, threatened to stab Kevin and jab him with a needle if he wasn’t allowed through the closure.

Andrew Sharp from A-one+ said: This behaviour is completely unacceptable. What we want is everybody to treat each other with respect. We expect our road workers to treat road users with respect and for road users to do the same with our road workers.

Everybody has the right to have a safe working environment and at the end of a shift to go home safely, and our road workers are no different.

The Traffic Management Contractors Association (TMCA) will be demonstrating ways of eliminating carriageway crossings at this year’s Seeing is Believing. As part of its Aiming for Zero¬†initiative, the Highways Agency has a target to remove carriageway crossings by the end of 2014. The TMCA will be demonstrating both the issues and solutions at Seeing is Believing.