One of the major considerations of bringing a large construction project to a rural region like Lincolnshire, is what effect it will have on road safety. The sudden arrival of heavy vehicles on quiet local roads, along with the increase in traffic from onsite workers can easily raise the risk of collisions and other traffic incidents. So, before Triton Knoll began construction of its offshore wind farm, it worked with the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership (LRSP) on a Drive Safe Campaign to protect both its own workers and the local community.
Lincolnshire, a largely rural county, is a high-risk area for traffic. Most of the county’s 6500 km of roads are set at the national speed limit, and cars, frequently travelling at 60-70mph, often have to brake suddenly for slow-moving agricultural vehicles. Other issues include poor road surfaces, mud on the road, wildlife crossing and local microclimates that cause unexpected ice. During the summer, the roads are popular with bikers – who account for just 1% of traffic in the UK but 30% of accidents. Holiday makers with caravans and motorhomes also add to the mix.
To at least mitigate, and at best eliminate, any extra risk from traffic associated with the Triton Knoll construction project, LRSP, wanted to ensure all employees were made fully aware of the local road safety issues and how to reduce risk when driving.
John Siddle, Communications Manager for LRSP, was invited to work with the Triton Knoll team and held a kickstart workshop with a 30-minute presentation. He presented case studies of actual collisions that had happened in Lincolnshire – examining the sequence of events that had led to collisions. He highlighted the four main causes of traffic collisions that lead to loss of life: speeding, impaired driving ability through tiredness, drink or drugs, distractions such as mobile phones or sat-navs, and seatbelt compliance on and off site. In almost every fatality, if one of these factors was taken out of the equation, it could have been prevented.
LRSP continued to conduct workshops for all Triton Knoll employees, with 10-15 people at a time. The workshops were used to deep dive into each of the four causes and to discuss ways in which to stay safe. For example, an explanation of how speed cameras really work to debunk the myth that you can avoid a fine by slowing down for an individual camera. They also used real-life examples to illustrate the risks of dangerous driving and the real life-changing consequences a fatal collision can have on the survivors. Most importantly the workshops included coping strategies that can be used in everyone’s future driving career.
Going the extra mile
As part of its pro-active approach to road safety, Triton Knoll created a Drive Safe Campaign which RWE plans to implement in all future construction projects. Videos and eLearning resources were created to support the Triton Knoll Drive Safe Campaign. Contractors who were travelling to the site were sent the eLearning packs and videos in advance, so that they could complete the training and agree to the rules before driving to the site.
Other measures that Triton Knoll took included lowering the speed limit on site to 5-10 mph and insisting that drivers reverse park into bays which is much safer than reversing out of a bay. Triton Knoll also allowed workers to leave site at midday on a Friday. This was to ensure that all employees, who might have a long journey, would still be fresh enough to drive safely and would not feel the need to rush.
All measures were revaluated on a regular basis to check for effectiveness. John Siddle said: “every time I was on site, I felt everything was fully under control. Triton Knoll absolutely knocked it out of the park from a safe driving perspective.”
As far as John Siddle was concerned, the project was an unqualified success. There were no offsite collisions where anyone was seriously hurt, and no incidents on site. John said “the fact that they haven’t hurt anybody – or themselves – while they were in Lincolnshire is a win-win for me. If all companies took Triton Knoll’s attitude to road safety, my job would be easy.”
Triton Knoll were equally impressed with John and his team. “John was always on hand to answer any questions we had and has been invaluable in helping us to set a very high safety standard.” said Martin Knagg, Onshore Cables Package Manager. “if, at the end of the day, the Drive Safe Campaign has saved one life that might have been lost – enabled that one person to go back to his or her family – that’s a benefit that simply can’t be measured".