WJ | ACBWJ to launch road worker safety innovation at Intertraffic Amsterdam
Road stud installation operatives placed out of harm’s way
UK based WJ Group and Belgian joint venture partner ACB plan to launch a road worker safety innovation to the European market at Intertraffic in Amsterdam.
ACBWJ’s ambition and forward thinking ethos for workforce welfare is driving the road marking sector forward, continually finding better and most importantly, safer ways of doing things.
Their latest innovation, the WJ Guardian Vehicle which provides a new method of road stud installation, designed to remove vulnerable operatives from the carriageway, is a significant leap forward in road worker safety. The bespoke design of the installation vehicle allows the complete road stud installation process to take place, whilst protecting operatives within an integrated safety cell of an 18-tonne truck.
The WJ Guardian can be used to install all types of road studs, but it was with this process in mind that WJ also developed the EN 1463 certified Allux prismatic road stud, complete with stabilising shank. Allux will also be featured on ACBWJ Stand 05.208 at Intertraffic.
UK highway authorities employ approximately 12 million road studs on the national and local road network and when used in conjunction with high performance road markings they deliver a significant contribution to road safety. The safety benefits provided are particularly notable during adverse weather and wet night conditions, a fact that’s attracting attention from more European countries.
However, one issue has been that traditional methods of road stud installation using a standard milling machine, require the vehicle and operatives to occupy the centre of the road and even within a controlled traffic management scheme the workers are constantly at risk of injury and / or abuse from passing road users.
That risk varies from site to site, but always demanding a safety zone, either by traffic management or road closures, to comply with the regulatory requirements.
The WJ Guardian vehicle does not negate the need for these safety zones but does significantly reduce the risks by completely removing the operatives from the carriageway. Now, they are protected within the vehicles unique ergonomic safety cell as well as within a regulated safety zone, placing them out of harm’s way.
The innovative installation vehicle provides full control of the operation from within the safety cell and always with good communication between operative and driver.
The efficiency and speed of this system does provide cost savings but more importantly it affords better management of people, plant, interface issues and reduced Work Related Road Risk (WRRR) which are all positive advantages.
Additionally, road works often create a distraction or obstruction for passing road users and it’s the desire to improve safety for both road worker and road user alike that has been the drive behind this innovation.
Wayne Johnston, WJ Group Managing Director commented “Safety is fundamental to any sustainable highway maintenance business, that’s why we invest huge sums in research and development. We always strive for continuous improvement and I am totally committed to changing the way we work in this industry”.
According to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), 25,671 lives were lost on European roads in last year, so there is a moral and financial need to continue efforts to improve road safety. This specific innovation focusses on work related road safety issues and contributes to the safety agenda by primarily protecting one of the most vulnerable group of workers.
The patent pending WJ Guardian road stud installation vehicle is manufactured at WJ’s engineering plant in the UK for supply throughout Europe.
The radical thinking behind the development, not only delivers a safer and more efficient way to install road studs, but it is expected to be the catalyst for change in working practice for other highway maintenance activities.
However, as the highways maintenance industry provides this focus on improving its working practices, it is also hoped that we can eventually influence overall driver behavior when passing through roadworks. Greater awareness and care would help keep both road users and road workers safe, and that would be a real achievement.