Protecting The Protectors
27 June 2016
A campaign by a consortium including Costain to cut down the number of collisions with vehicles protecting road workers has produced a huge response from truck drivers.
The A-one+ grouping of Costain, CH2M and Colas recognised in 2013 that there was a danger from vehicles crashing into the Impact Protection Vehicles (IPVs) that shield road workers from errant cars and trucks. The crash cushion-equipped IPVs take the force of any collision, not the staff.
A-one+ provides road maintenance and repair services for Highways England and recognised there was a particular problem with HGVs colliding with the IPVs, with seven of the eight collisions between 2009-13 involving trucks. Many of the incidents occurred at night, when much road maintenance work takes place.
It created an industry-approved training programme for hauliers to alert them to the danger of collisions. Centred on video footage of one of these collisions, the material produced included a training manual, Powerpoint presentation and ‘memory cards’ that drivers could take away to refresh their memories.
The ‘No Strikes’ programme has won multiple national and international awards. However, said Andrew Sharp, A-one+’s Programme Delivery Manager for Area 12, which covers Yorkshire and Humberside: “The biggest benefit has been the two-way conversation between the freight industry and the road maintenance industry.
“What we’ve found with the hauliers is that there was quite an appetite for this dialogue. We’ve been able to discuss other factors beyond the IPVs, helping drivers to understand why we do what we do.
“We wanted to listen to the hauliers, to see what they think of roadworks in general, and IPVs in particular.”
Indeed, the campaign to increase awareness of IPVs has led to at least 14 major freight companies incorporating it into their driving training programmes, which have now reached more than 35,000 HGV drivers.
“We’re continuing to work with the Freight Transport Association (FTA) members to expand the initiative further. Our training modules are now built into FTA members’ mandatory and induction training.”
More than 2000 of the drivers have provided valuable feedback to A-one+ after the course. A substantial minority – 31.9% - said that at night they were sometimes drawn towards the IPVs’ lights, rather than avoiding them. Remarkably, 7% of the respondents said that before the training they had not been aware of the existence of IPVs.
And almost all those providing feedback – 98.2% - classed the training as either ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’.
The A-one+ ‘No Strikes’ campaign has been so successful that it was presented to representatives of the French transport ministry at their annual conference near Paris late last year.
Additionally, the printed safety material has now been translated into Polish for the many drivers from the eastern European nation that arrive on ferries at Hull and Immingham in Area 12’s ‘patch’. The translated training material may also be displayed on the ferries themselves, so Polish drivers can familiarise themselves with it before they head out onto the UK’s roads.
Costain Communications Department