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Tackling the Scourge of Highways Incursions

March 8, 2024

Ensuring that our teams go home unharmed after every shift has always been a priority for our business. We’ve made great strides in embedding a safety-first culture but we’re conscious that there’s always more to do.

In this respect, highways incursions remain a significant issue across the industry. Since October 2017 and up to the end of Q4 2023 there were around 14,500 road traffic incursions into live highways work sites. That’s a frightening number. That’s a frightening number especially when every highway incursion potentially risks traumatic and tragic outcomes.

Trends are hard to analyse, partly because contractors are becoming much better at reporting incidents. Even so, there was a 68% increase in reported incidents during October 2023 compared to the previous April. It’s reasonable to assume that numbers aren’t going down significantly. So what are we doing about it?

Understanding the Causes

Better recording is an important step towards understanding and dealing with the causes of highways incursions.

We know that some incursions are intentional and some not. An intentional incursion could be somebody trying to breach a rolling roadblock, seeking directions or information, or trying to exit the highway following a breakdown. Unfortunately, it can also be somebody looking to confront or abuse the workforce.

There are also ‘blue light’ incursions where emergency vehicles unexpectedly enter the works without an escort or by vehicles being pursued.

Unintentional incursions include ‘follow-ins’ of work site traffic, drivers who are confused, or the result of an accident.

Dealing With the Causes

Octavius fully supports the National Highways Impact Prevention Vehicles (IPV) & Incursion Working Group’s efforts to improve work site safety.

We’re employing the Raising the Bar guidance document and working with Traffic Management Designers to minimise and mitigate incursions. This can be achieved through safer work site layouts and access along with more effective physical protection for work teams. Through a Plan, Do, Check and Act approach we’re determined to prevent incursions.

The public also has an essential role. Education, better communication and standardised signs and layouts will help reduce confusion and limit the number of incursions – reinforcing the message that a highways work site is strictly off-limits.

For more information contact Mike Todd (mike.todd@octavius.co.uk)

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