HEA – Guiding Light on Working Practices

When highways electrical work is required around areas such as traffic islands, there is an immediate foreseeable risk due to the reduced space available.

Tyre marks on islands, visible damage to bollards and narrow lane widths are evidence that for normal use, there is not enough room provided. Larger vehicles, such as buses, have difficulties negotiating the tight angles and turning circles are impossibly tight.  Add in barriers and cones for roadworks and the level of risk for road workers and users increases.

The Red Book does cover Safety at Streetworks and Roadworks, but little detail is included for specific considerations on traffic islands. When debating this issue, the Highways Electrical Association Safety Committee concluded that too little was being done on keeping road workers safe and so set about producing and publishing Best Practice Guidance for Working at Centre Islands and Pedestrian Refuges.

The aim of the guide is to reinforce a common standard of working practices across the industry and cover any gaps that current available guidance: The Red Book, Health & Safety at Work Act, Chapter 8, CDM 2007, may leave.

The document is intended to act as guidance for clients, designers and those who are involved in the installation, maintenance and removal of highway electrical and associated equipment on centre island sites.  It covers the activities for completing the necessary work as well as the temporary traffic management required to keep road users and workers safe.

The document published by the HEA includes practical risk assessment advice, within the context of the centre island environment, and examples of best road layouts for works to be undertaken.  It has been reviewed by the Sector Scheme 12D Chair and past Chair, and it is hoped that HSE will view the guidance as a reasonable approach and will encourage the industry to adopt the advice provided into normal working practices.

Mick Twist, HSE Manager at ETDE Infrastructure Ltd, stated: “The HEA Safety Committee noticed that the various guidance documents were lacking in clear best-practice examples of undertaking work on centre island sites.  We felt it was important for the industry to have something to refer to as a benchmark and to make the advice practical for easy implementation.

“Reducing incidents and accidents will always be a priority, as even reporting one incident is one too many.  By producing this document we are also sending a message to our road workers that we value them and realise that working practices and behaviours need to change across the industry.”

Those who have already started to follow the guidance are anticipating results that show:
·      fewer incidents due to a safer workplace
·      review and improvement of highway layouts
·      removal of unnecessary street furniture clutter
·      reduction of carbon footprint and energy consumption as they assess each area for whether de-illumination is appropriate, and
·      an increase in the use of energy efficient and low maintenance products.

Download guide here

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