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Hazards that roadside and traffic management workers face (and how to avoid them)

Hazards that roadside and traffic management workers face (and how to avoid them)

Britain’s roads are some of the busiest in the world. They are also some of the safest, according to the Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA). However, while national figures show casualties are at their lowest level for over 40 years overall, injuries to UK’s the 4,000 road workers are on the rise. Ensuring the safety of road workers has never been so important.

This month Road Safety Week http://www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk/our-theme aims to raise awareness among UK drivers of the dangers that road workers face. The overall aim of the campaign may be to improve driver behaviour, but while we all wait for that to happen, road workers are in ever greater need of protection.

Hazards faced by road workers

Road maintenance and road building workers have one of the most hazardous occupations. Highways Agency statistics show that between 2003 and 2008, 11 road workers were killed and 104 were seriously injured on motorways and major routes in England. All the fatalities were caused by workers being struck by oncoming vehicles.

The HTMA is working to make the working environment safer by:

  • Encouraging road design that takes into account and reduces maintenance and operational needs
  • Reduces road workers exposure to live traffic
  • Raises awareness among the public and industry of the important role that road workers play in improving and maintaining the UK’s road network, and the threats to their safety that they face in carrying out their work
  • Improving driving behaviour

Protecting roadside workers

While the HTMA and others campaign for overall improvements to road worker safety, it almost goes without saying that there are some basic steps that those with responsibility for their health and safety can and must take. This primarily requires the provision of high visibility clothing.

High visibility clothing is a relatively simple, inexpensive but highly effective safety measure. Employers whose staff work in busy environments where there is vehicular traffic are required by law to provide them with high visibility workwear and PPE. Workers, in turn, are obliged to wear it.

The basic principle of high visibility clothing is to make the wearer more easily visible to drivers of approaching vehicles, helping to increase the margin of safety. When selecting high visibility protection take into account the following:

  • the presence of ambient lighting and/or electrical illumination
  • the contrast of the wearer against any background
  • large, bright garments are more visible than small ones
  • full body coverage provides better visibility in all viewing directions
  • contrasting stripes of colours (have a distinct colour difference) with the background material further improve visibility and when on the arms and legs can provide visual clues about the motion of the person wearing the garment
  • other requirements, such as flame resistance, thermal performance, water resistance, durability, comfort, tear-away features, material breathability and flexibility that are applicable to the job

Crucially, any new hi-vis clothing must be CE marked, which means it conforms to EU standards and the British standard EN ISO 20471. If your hi vis clothing isn’t CE marked, you are in violation of the law.

High visibility protective clothing

To protect road workers and others who need to be clearly seen, Contego Safety Solutions offers a wide range of hi-visibility clothing. Highlights in our range include:

  • WEARMASTER® high visibility clothing that is engineered with the daily needs of the highway worker in mind
  • Gore-Tex clothing, world renowned for its high performance in waterproof, breathable technology
  • Hi-vis garments that are all engineered to meet and exceed the requirements set out in EN ISO20471
  • WEARMASTER® selected fabrics that are three times more waterproof than the highest standard EN343-3 requires.
  • Quality lightweight padding that provides freedom of movement and lightweight comfort, plus the option to layer up for winter working

In addition, WEARMASTER® has developed a range of footwear specially designed to protect the highway worker in rigorous conditions, including high performing waterproof footwear and designs incorporating Metatarsal protection.

The WEARMASTER® Michigan Waterproof Metatarsal Boot has high protection levels, thanks to Poron technology. Coupled with a waterproof membrane, top quality padding and breathable linings, it has a robust rubber sole unit that provides all the protection you need.

Meanwhile, the WEARMASTER® Endurance Waterproof Boot is specifically designed for harsh environments, with generous padding, waterproof lining and an extra robust sole unit with reinforced shank.

All WEARMASTER® safety footwear styles meet or exceed EN ISO 20345 requirements.

Discover Contego’s extensive range of protective clothing and PPE – download the Contego Catalogue now, visit our website www.contegosafety.co.uk or contact our friendly team on 0800 122 3323 or sales@contegosafety.co.uk for advice or to place your order.