Amey trials wearable tech for road workers
Amey highway engineers have been trialling wearable technology, with a view to reducing risks to drivers and lone workers.
Biometric and location devices, which detect when the body is under stress and help raise instant alarms at the touch of a button, were piloted on a Highways England maintenance contract.
The tech piloted by Amey was provided by Fujitsu and included a collar drowsiness detector and ear clip measuring changes in blood flow, which are indicators of attention loss and an initial sign of fatigue.
A wrist-band monitored vital signs and environmental factors. This alerts employees to signs of heat stress and provides other valuable information, such as a sudden change in posture indicating a trip or fall, and the wearer’s exertion level, to ensure they are operating safely.
Finally, a location badge, when activated by the wearer, sends an instant alert triggering help to be dispatched in the event of a threat or injury.
Amey is now considering the tech’s capabilities for improving staff safety across its business. It also plans to evaluate other devices and suppliers.
Mike Kehoe, principal engineer for intelligent transport systems at Amey, said: “We are always looking for ways to increase worker safety and wearable safety technology has huge possibilities. Our eight week trial on Highways England’s northeast regional technology maintenance contract really put it through its paces. Every member of staff on that contract drives a vehicle and can be out at any time of the day or night, in all weathers or in locations like embankments and next to live traffic.
“We found that the tech is transferable to other situations and could potentially provide a wealth of data about the wellbeing of our people which will help us improve general safety.”
He added: “We have more work to do to evaluate the market and look at ways to make the tech useable every day for our people.
“It’s definitely the future, and many organisations, including Highways England, are looking at the concept.”