MASS Crash Tested Barriers image

M.A.S.S. Barriers under Review

  • 4 Jul 2016

Multi Application Safety System Barriers, commonly known as MASS barriers, are one of the most popular forms of safety barrier protection on UK roads and construction sites. 

Available in a range of high visibility colours which make them ideally suited to any street and construction works, MASS barriers are one of the few barrier systems available in the UK which offer protection to users on all sides:

  • To guide and protect pedestrians on either side of the barrier.
  • To protect and guide vehicles from the work space.
  • To protect on-site workers from the traffic.
  • To protect the work site or construction area from trespass and vandalism.

Vehicle safety and pedestrian protection

MASS barriers offer optimum protection in areas of urban speed limits (under 30mph). MASS barriers offer fully tested vehicle roll-on, roll -off stability, as the force with which a vehicle meets the barrier is used to stabilise the barrier base, increasing the protection offered. Additionally, the ‘roll-off’ maximises safety by channelling the impact force, deflecting and returning the errant vehicle, rather than allowing it to continue, possibly into the construction site or through to a pedestrian safety area. 

Adding a top fence such as mesh-fencing, which offers anti-debris protection on both sides of the barrier, makes MASS barriers ideal for deployment where passing traffic is likely and is another way the barriers help to protect workers and pedestrians alike.

With their highly visible powder-coated safety colours, MASS barriers offer a quick early-warning indication of works for pedestrians and vehicle users in all situations – including poor weather conditions.

Deployment detail

Another simple but effective design feature of MASS barriers is the fully interlocking system incorporated into the design. This feature allows extensive barrier runs (which can also accommodate 90o bends) to be created. 

Additionally, because MASS barriers are non-permanent and require no drilling or coring, they are not only easy to redeploy and reused, they also present a very cost effective option for those looking to purchase barriers for regular use. Anchorage is achieved by using sandbag-filled steel buffers on terminal sections, another feature which is easy to install and disassemble as required.

Adaptable application

Whilst it’s the bases of MASS barriers which offer the initial roadside protection required, its the range of easy to attach top sections with fencing of different heights and features which enhance the versatility of this barrier system and make MASS barriers the protective perimeter for many types of site or situation. The changes to the fencing top of the barrier can even be facilitated without needing to move or replace the base sections, affording even more adaptability and speed when situations change or site works progress.

When installation or redeployment is required from the ground upwards, sectional installation which can be facilitated by just a few suitably trained staff, means that maximum protection with minimal disruption to traffic, pedestrians, site staff or work schedule can be achieved.

Environmental edge

MASS barrier systems offer superior strength and durability from a hot dip galvanised steel construction, This strength and durability makes MASS barriers particularly suitable for locations which are subject to high winds and extreme weather, as they offer an enduring and highly visible presence, however poor the weather.

Why MASS, not water-filled barriers?

Both MASS crash-tested barriers and water-filled barriers have their place in the road workers’ and construction site managers’ armoury for protecting the public and the site, but there are key situations when MASS barriers are better suited for the task:

  • Both offer interlocking systems but MASS barriers can offer greater flexibility in terms of accommodating curves and bends in runs.
  • With anti-debris fencing available, crash-testing to T2W5 and roll-on, roll-off stability, MASS Barriers are particularly suitable for road ways and street works. This low-key but highly stable strength is often better suited to traffic situations which may involve larger vehicles such as construction plant and agricultural vehicles. In these situation and locations, although they offer good stability in their own right, water-filled barriers may not offer the appropriate strength, stability and durability required when deployed close to larger vehicles. 
  • MASS barriers are also particularly suited to providing site protection, as extra security can be offered by the right fence panels, such as full-height, anti-climb mesh panels can be fitted.

Often, the decision of which type of barrier to choose comes down to ease of transportation and deployment. But although water-filled barriers can be used effectively in many situations and site contexts and are undoubtedly lighter to transport and deploy initially as their weighting can be added later, this is dependent on water being available at the site: without this, their stability and effectiveness is severely constrained. For areas where there are no utilities, MASS barriers can provide the security without the additional chore of finding water. 

Low speed, high quality

With thorough crash-testing evidence that MASS barriers offer optimum protection in low speed areas, this does not preclude their use as a roadside barrier system in areas which are generally of higher speed traffic, such as A roads and motorways: at those times when lower speed restrictions are in place to facilitate works, MASS barriers are also a popular and effective choice. 

Particularly with anti-debris fence panels, MASS barriers can effectively protect site workers from debris flying up from vehicle wheels whilst the roll-on, roll-off safety design feature offers additional safety in the event of errant vehicles.

To explore the potential for MASS barriers as the effective vehicle, site and pedestrian protection for any site, Safe Site Facilities are happy to advise, as well as offer hire or purchase and delivery services across the UK, to keep sites secure and to keep our roads on the move – safely.

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