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CONSTRUCTION UNDER SPOTLIGHT OVER CYCLIST DEATHS

Report calls for action by HSE and construction sector under CDM 2007

The improvement of cyclist safety is a key priority for Transport for London (TfL). Analysis of cyclist fatalities in the city has shown that of the 16 deaths in 2011 nine involved a heavy goods vehicle (HGV), and seven of these were construction vehicles.

TfL commissioned TRL to undertake research aimed at understanding the following general themes:

  1. Construction risk – is it possible to understand the relative risk represented by construction vehicles to cyclists, when compared with general haulage vehicles? If so, what is it? What are the limitations in the data available?
  2. Risk factors – are there features of contractual arrangements, working practices, driver behaviour, or vehicle design (or combinations of these) that contribute to the apparent over involvement of construction vehicles in fatal collisions with cyclists in London?

Eleven findings and twelve associated recommendations emerged. The report states that the evidence suggested that construction vehicles are over-represented (relative to their exposure) in fatal collisions with cyclists in London. 

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 

The findings and recommendations are grouped under four key areas:

  • Raising the profile of work-related road safety;
  • Improving work-related road safety management in the construction industry;
  • Making construction vehicles and journeys safer; and
  • Data improvements.
 
Raising the profile of work-related road safety

The first general finding is that in the construction industry road risk is viewed as less important than general health and safety risk. There are two recommendations designed to address this issue.

  • Recommendation 1: HSE should extend RIDDOR to include on-road collisions– to send a clear message that road risk and general health and safety are to be treated equally. In the shorter term, HSE could develop an Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) for work-related road safety;
  • Recommendation 2: Promote adherence to a nationally recognised standard – a new International Standard has recently been issued (ISO39001:2012). Organisations of five or more employees driving to or from construction sites within London should be required to achieve this or a similar standard;
 
Improving work-related road safety management in the construction industry
  • Recommendation 3: HSE should include off-site safety in the CDM Construction Phase Plan– CDM Regulations 2007 do not require driving for work to be included in the construction phase plan. HSE should “mandate” inclusion of off-site safety in the CDM construction phase plan requiring PC “ownership” of road risk;
  • Recommendation 4: Raise awareness more effectively within the construction industry – there are many associations within the transport sector who should use their networks improve communication of the importance of managing construction vehicle safety once vehicles have left sites. These include the FORS network, Construction Equipment Association, the Construction Industry Council and the Mineral Products Association;
  • Recommendation 5: Construction Logistics Plan (CLP) guidance – should be promoted and compliance monitored by TfL and embedded in the planning application process for London-based construction projects. The CLP guidance should be updated to make it more robust as a means of ensuring each construction site has a mechanism for managing road risk.
 
Making construction vehicles and journeys safer
  • Recommendation 6: Vehicle manufacturers should work to improve vehicle and mirror design  – some vehicles had a larger non-visible area (at ground level) than others. Manufacturers should address aspects of vehicle design to improve drivers’ view of cyclists, and seek to identify and implement design improvements that might be made specifically for vehicles driving on London’s streets e.g. changes to windscreen or dashboard design; new technologies and improved mirror design;
  • Recommendation 7: Review of the blind spots in different construction vehicle types – a comprehensive review of vehicles used in the construction industry would greatly improve understanding of the challenges faced by drivers in relation to observing cyclists on the road;
  • Recommendation 8: Principal contractors and clients should use more realistic delivery time slots – the use of more realistic time slots e.g allowing vehicles arriving either side of their allocated slot to enter the site where reasonable and use of holding bays to facilitate early arrival.This should be included as an additional aspect to the CLPs. Mechanisms that might be used to manage road risk in the construction industry in London are not used as widely or as seriously as might be hoped. These include: Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), Construction Logistics Plans (CLPs) and documents prepared by developers which detail the planned logistics activity associated with a given construction project.;
  • Recommendation 9: CLPs must include the definition of safer routes to construction sites – under mandatory CLPs the Principal Contractor should define safer routes to their site, where possible avoiding risky areas such as schools, cyclist ‘hotspots’, narrow roads and difficult junctions. In all cases consideration should be given to minimising exposure to vulnerable road users.
  • Recommendation 10: Further research to understand the effects of pay per load contracts – pay per load contracts are sometimes used in the construction industry, principally where owner-drivers are involved. Further research is required to fully understand the current use of pay per load contracts and any effects they may have on driver behaviour.
 
Data improvements
  • Recommendation 11: The vehicle type ‘construction vehicle’ should be included in Stats19 – this would improve knowledge of the incidence of collisions between cyclists (and other vulnerable road users) and vehicles used for construction. If possible, this should be done quickly with the involvement of the Metropolitan Police Service, or otherwise should be prioritised in the next consultation on Stats19.
 
Ownership of recommendations
  • Recommendation 12: Recommendations 1 to 11 need to be addressed by industry stakeholders – ownership of the previous recommendations should lie with the relevant industry stakeholders, including regulators, the construction industry, and vehicle manufacturers. Without clear ownership there is a risk that the recommendations will not be addressed; the identification and engagement of relevant key stakeholders is crucial to ensure that the recommendations are taken forward and acted on appropriately.

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One Response to “CONSTRUCTION UNDER SPOTLIGHT OVER CYCLIST DEATHS”

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