CHANCELLOR’S RHETORIC UNDERMINED BY POTHOLES
The lack of measures to address the UK’s deteriorating road network in the March Budget undermines the Chancellor’s rhetoric of describing UK infrastructure as being the “economic arteries” of the country and that investment in the sector will “get growth flowing” to every part of the country. Despite George Osborne’s supposed recognition of the importance of the infrastructure, the arteries of the road network remain clogged with pot holes and lack of investment.
The headline announcement concerning infrastructure investment was an extra £3 billion a year 2015-16. This is two years away with no guarantee as a new government will then be in power. Investment in the UK’s crumbling road network is needed now not in two years’ time. Furthermore, the extra funds announced would fail to address the needs of the UK infrastructure when, after years of under investment, just to repair the road network alone would cost £10 billion.
The economic implications of the Chancellor’s failure to provide the funding necessary for a programme of long-term road maintenance are clear. Last year, local authorities paid out over £32 million in compensation claims from road users for vehicle damage or personal injury. This is a 50% increase on the previous year. Even more alarming is the cost of the deteriorating road network for small and medium-sized businesses due to reduced productivity, increased fuel consumption, vehicular damage and delayed deliveries: a whopping £52 billion a year.
Investing in road maintenance really would ‘get growth flowing’. It would provide an immediate boost to the economy, improve road safety and remove the spiral of decline which sees many local authorities forced to carry out expensive emergency repairs rather than cost-effective long-term maintenance.
ROAD CONDITION IMPLICATIONS FOR ROAD SAFETY MUST BE EXAMINED
The impact of poorly maintained roads and potholes on road user safety must be included in the remit of the new Transport Safety Commission set up by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transports Safety (PACTS). The Commission has been set up to examine how best to improve road, rail and air transport safety. Initially the Commission will address road safety. It is important that all aspects of road safety are examined. There is a direct link between road accidents and poor road surface. The impact of the UK’s deteriorating road network on road safety must be addressed.
There is a wide range of road surface treatments that can significantly improve road safety. The establishment of the Transport Safety Commission is welcomed and the RSTA is ready to work with it to demonstrate the link between the condition of the road network and safety of road users.
NEW CODE OF PRACTICE FOR ROAD CRACK SEALING AND JOINT REPAIRS
A new Code of Practice from the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) provides best practice guidance and technical information on crack sealing and joint repair systems for road surfaces. The Code has been peer reviewed and endorsed by ADEPT.
Crack sealing and joint repair systems are essential for reducing water ingress into the road surface and sub-surface and so minimising damage from freeze/thaw action. In addition, the systems reduce erosion by tyre interaction on a damaged surface or open joint and assist the reinstatement of the road surface to its original skid resistance and texture depth profile.
The new Code covers overbanding which is used as a repair or preventative treatment for narrow cracks and joints, fill and overband for the infill, repair and sealing of open of fretted joints and wide cracks and inlaid crack repair systems as used for the repair of single or multiple cracks. The processes are examined in detail and best practice guidance and technical specification for their selection and application is provided. The aim is to provide best practice guidance that maximises performance and durability.
The planning, co-ordination, health and safety, environmental and work execution responsibilities of client, contractor and installer are outlined and full reference is made to the relevant regulations, standards and training qualifications.
The new Code of Practice may be downloaded from www.rsta-uk.org/publications
RSTA 2013 HEALTH AND SAFETY AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED
The winners of the Road Surface Treatments Association 2013 Health and Safety Awards have been announced. The Awards aim to capture and promote industry best practice. For 2013, there were three categories: Workforce Involvement; Behavioural Safety; Innovation. The Awards were presented by Joy Jones from the Health and Safety Executive at the recent RSTA Annual Dinner and were sponsored by Nynas Bitumen.
First prize for Workforce Involvement was awarded to Nu-Phalt Ltd for its Thermal Replacement Road System that sees the retraining and redeployment of employees so that occupational health risks are addressed and workers obtain full job satisfaction. Crucial to the success of this is operative feedback. The system developed by Nu-Phalt allows full consideration of this feedback which is important to encourage ideas and positive buy-in from operatives. It is an approach that could be beneficial to the road surface industry as a whole. Runner- up in this category was Eurovia for their ‘Steps to Health’ initiative that offered specific examples of the benefits of health and safety participation.
The Behavioural Safety category was awarded to two joint winners: Eurovia and Colas. Eurovia was recognised for its Managing Safety Course that demonstrated an honest appraisal of the company’s mature approach to health and safety which has resulted in real and sustainable improvement. Colas was also awarded for its Behavioural Safety Coaching Programme which is based upon a collaborative approach that is supported by effective training and communication methods. The programme demonstrates a real commitment to fundamental improvements in operative health and safety.
The third category, Innovation, was won by Colas for its ‘Driving Through Roadworks – Public Awareness Campaign’. Here, Colas has taken on the responsibility to educate drivers. Of particular commendation is the fact that the campaign is the result of employee feedback. The adoption of the campaign by other companies is witness to its success. Runner-up in the Innovation category was JPCS for its ‘Report It!’ initiative that aims to make it easy for employees to fully take on board health and safety requirements by providing information both preventative and corrective.
Commenting on the Awards, Ms Jones said: “Congratulations must be given to these RSTA member companies who have demonstrated such a commitment and dedication to health and safety. Of particular note, is that many of their initiatives may be adopted widely throughout the road surface industry.” Her comments were supported by Howard Robinson, RSTA Chief Executive, who said: “The road network is a hazardous place in which to work. These winning companies have demonstrated that health and safety must not just be a consideration, it must be integral to all business undertakings and processes”.
RSTA APPOINTS NEW TECHNICAL SERVICES MANAGER
RSTA has appointed Jonathan Haycock as its new Technical Services Manager. The role is focused on providing carbon management training and development support for RSTA members and local authorities together with raising awareness and uptake of the RSTA Codes of Practice and industry best practice.
With an honours degree in Physical Geography, Haycock has spent the last ten years working with Tarmac, now Tarmac Lafarge. His roles there include Laboratory Technician, Senior Product Development Technologist and District Technical Manager for Tarmac Central Ltd – North West. He has technical expertise in aggregates, asphalt, concrete, site investigation, British and European standard conformity, complaint management and specification vetting.
Commenting on his new role, Haycock said: "I am delighted to be joining the RSTA as technical services manager and look forward to working closely with the RSTA team. My appointment will focus on carbon management and technical support. In addition, developing relationships with local authorities and RSTA members will also be core to my activities."
LONG SERVICE AWARD
Paul Liles of HTS Consultancy has been awarded the inaugural Road Surface Treatments Association Long Service to Industry Award. The Award aims to recognise those who made a significant contribution to the road surface industry with particular reference to raising industry standards and improving its professionalism.
Liles has worked for almost 50 years in the road surface treatments industry with particular emphasis on treatments that reduce skid related accidents and that extend the service life of existing road surfaces. This includes his development in the 1980s of the Textureflex System for Zebreflex Sealants which is widely acknowledged as being the basis for the hot applied high friction surfacing that is used today. Liles also received one of the first HAPAS certificates issued by the BBA for high friction surfacing systems. For over 20 years Liles has served as a technical expert on a number of BSI, European CEN, BBA and RSTA committees.
Making the presentation for the RSTA Long Service to Industry Award at the recent RSTA Annual Dinner, Howard Robinson, RSTA Chief Executive said: “This award is in recognition of Paul’s outstanding contribution to the progression and development of road surface treatments. It celebrates his long and distinguished career.”
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