Fleet News

Highways England urges roadworkers to report abuse after incident increase

Highways England has seen an increase in roadworkers suffering abuse, despite traffic flows falling during coronavirus restrictions.

To mark Road Safety Week (November 16-22), Highways England is urging all roadworkers to ensure they report any and all incidents of both incursions and abuse.

In the first nine months of 2020, it says there has been a 10% increase in abuse incidents compared to the first nine months of 2019.

Furthermore, it says there were nearly 6,500 incidents where vehicles ignored traffic restrictions and entered a traffic management area – so called incursions – between October 2017 and October 2020 – an average of 175 a month.  

Mark Byard, director of health and safety at Highways England, said: “Our roads keep the country moving, keep families connected and businesses in business, so our roadworkers are vital to everyone’s wellbeing, and their wellbeing is vital to us.”

Byard says that 175 reported incursions a month is “far too many” and urged members of supply chain to report all incidents of incursions and abuse. “Together we can make a difference,” he said.

Highways England has recently lead a cross-industry project to raise awareness of road worker safety. Collaborating with 18 supply chain companies across the highways industry, such as Amey, Balfour Beatty and Skanska, Highways England has spear-headed the creation and production of a short video aimed at the public to educate them that driving into roadworks puts construction and maintenance workers at risk.

The video is also accompanied by a further 13 short films produced by Highways England’s supply chain partners. Aimed at construction and maintenance roadworkers, they illustrate what to do if someone drives (or walks) into works. These videos are being used in training and briefings on sites to help keep the roadworkers on site safe from incursions.

James Haluch, managing director at Amey Highways and chair of the vehicle incursions working group, said: “In 2019, in Amey alone we recorded 753 actual vehicle incursions into our road closures.

“Worse still, we have an actual collision with a traffic management vehicle every four or so months. Each one of these results in injuries to our people and it is generally the case that the physical injuries heal far quicker than the mental health ones.

“I would not ask my kids to drive an impact protection vehicle so I do struggle asking my colleagues to. Hence this unprecedented collaboration by the Highways sector in raising awareness is so critical in helping to eliminate the risk to the people that maintain our road network to keep the country connected.

“A few moments lapse of concentration could be life changing.”

Highways England is urging all roadworkers to report any incidents of incursion or abuse using their companies existing methods for near miss reporting.

Fleet News Awards + Commercial Fleet Awards 2021: Going virtual

The Fleet News Awards is moving to a new date for 2021.

Traditionally held in March, next year the awards night moves to June 29 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. It will also for the first time incorporate the Commercial Fleet Awards to create an unparalleled celebration that honours and recognises excellence across every part of the fleet sector.

Stephen Briers, editor-in-chief of Fleet News, said: “With the industry in turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic, we had a chance to reflect and review our awards proposition for 2021. While going virtual is an option, and one we are very excited about with our Fleet & Mobility Live show in November, we believe that an awards evening is also a networking evening and a chance to meet old friends and make new acquaintances in a relaxed environment.

“For many guests, it’s their industry highlight of the year. That’s why we decided to move the date to give us a better chance of being live at the Grosvenor House.”

Fleet News Awards 2021, incorporating Commercial Fleet Awards, will offer a unique opportunity to bring together the entire fleet sector to celebrate and honour the best people, companies and vehicles.

It is set to become the biggest and most important night in fleet. Further details about awards categories, judges and auditing will be released in January when Fleet News officially launches the Fleet News Awards 2021.

If you can’t wait until then, and want to know more, please email sandra.evitt@bauermedia.co.uk.

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