As the construction and road surfacing industry comes under increasing pressure to lower the number of on-site accidents, Aggregate Industries’ Contracting Division calls for a ‘back to basics’ approach to improving site safety.
With recent figures revealing British roads are the tenth most congested worldwide, the role of the roadwork operatives, typically involving work on the live highways network, has become ever more so challenging.
An Oxford University study showed it ranked as the 16th most hazardous job in the UK, with Highways England estimating 12 road workers have lost their lives on the network over the past decade.
In response, stakeholders from across the industry are being urged to take positive action to improve the health, safety and welfare of roadwork operatives, whilst supporting new technological advancements has a part to play; Aggregate says a job needs to be done to do fix the safety basics.
Paddy Murphy, Managing Director of Contracting Services at Aggregate Industries, commented: “While there is certainly a raft of new technologies on the market which can play a huge role in aiding the road operative safety plight, the reality is that there is also a big job to do in ensuring that our operatives abide to the basic safety measures.
“This begins with not only providing all workers with the correct task-based training and awareness of site risks, but by leaders providing a visible personal commitment to safety and leading by example.
“Site behaviours need to be monitored to ensure that everyone is adhering to current best practice by providing regular refresher sessions, as required. It sounds simple, but regardless of deadlines and pressures, it is vital that workers take the required rest-breaks and have access to adequate welfare facilities.
“Asides from site safety, it’s also about ensuring the health and wellbeing of staff. At Aggregate Industries, for example, our ‘Healthy You’ initiative provides workers with ongoing advice, guidance and support on how to deal with a variety of real health issues both in and outside of the workplace; from mental health and stress support, through to nutrition and fitness advice – all of which has been shown to help workers in their day-to-day.”
Whilst Highways England delivers a £15billion programme, set out to improve the UK’s motorways and main A-roads as part of their Road Investment Strategy, the government has also pledged £350 million to improve the UK’s local roads.
Paddy added: “Amid hugely vast targets to improve Britain’s transport infrastructure, coupled with increased demand on our roads and levels of traffic, it has never been a more apt time for the industry to place a greater focus on the safety and wellbeing of staff than ever before.
“If we don’t get the safety basics right and iron out any issues now, the reality is that we may encounter even bigger issues down the line as pressures and workloads increase.”
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