The average fatality rate for those maintaining the UK road network is one of the highest amongst employment sectors.  Highways Agency figures show that between 2009 and 2013, eight road workers died and 317 were injured while working on or near motorways and major A roads in England.

MVIS is dedicated to developing innovative new ITS solutions to help protect work-zone personnel, and is proud that in 2014, in partnership with Highways Resource Solutions Ltd (HRS), it launched its first collection of temporary road maintenance safety solutions.

Highways Agency statistics show that work-zone incursions are one of the most significant risks to road workers.

Road workers on BAM Morgan Sindall Joint Venture’s M62 and M1 junction 39 to 42 smart motorway project recently became the first to benefit from the safety credentials of MVIS’ and HRS’ pioneering temporary overheight detection solution.

One element of the M62 and M1 junction 39 to 42 smart motorway project involves the suspension of scaffolding beneath a bridge.  The road remains periodically open to road-users, and therefore personnel operating from the scaffolding require protection from errant oncoming high-sided vehicles.

Signs in advance of the bridge direct high-sided vehicles away from the structure.  A sensor detects incursions by errant vehicles, activating a message on a VMS, alerting drivers to their breach and enabling them to turn round and find an alternative route.  Simultaneously, an audible alarm on the scaffolding warns workers of the breach, allowing them sufficient time to reach a position of safety.

According to BMA Morgan Sindall Joint Venture stores manager, Chris Hunter, who commissioned the solution in September:  “The new solution has quickly proved its worth; within the first week, there were three incursions, all of which were quickly remedied as the drivers were instantly alerted and able to turn around to find an alternative route.”

The role of ITS in improving road worker safety is not limited to helping to tackle incursions.  New solutions are being developed by companies such as MVIS and HRS to facilitate safer work zone traffic management by fewer personnel, allowing traffic management organisations to avoid the deployment of such high numbers of road workers in these dangerous areas.

MVIS and Intellicone look forward to launching new interpretations of their work-zone safety solutions in 2015.  While the UK has a long way to go before we fulfill the Highways Agency’s Aiming for Zero road worker safety target, there is no doubt that as an industry, we are taking huge strides in the right direction.