The Motorway: Life in the Fast Lane

New RoWSaF Strategy launched

The new RoWSaF Strategy has been published, which will help take our latest ambitions forward with pace and secure further safety improvements for road workers. The new strategy introduces a number of new priority topic areas.

  • Reducing the growing problem of incursions into works areas;
  • Raising the standards of occupational health & behavioural safety;
  • Improving driver awareness of roadworks, through better education;
  • More effectively communicating knowledge of RoWSaF innovations to Local Authorities.

The new strategy also acknowledges RoWSaF’s achievements since the launch of the original Highways Agency’s Road Worker Safety strategy in 2009, not least of which is the work to eliminate live carriageway crossings on foot. It also refers to the two existing road worker safety targets due to be delivered by end 2016; eliminating live lane working on foot and significantly reducing risk to workers on, or near to, traffic management vehicles.

Download the new RoWSaF strategy

About RoWSaF

The Road Workers’ Safety Forum (RoWSaF) brings together stakeholders from across the highways industry to share expertise and knowledge so that we can improve the health, safety and welfare of our road workers and reduce risks by developing improvements in how we work. It is an industry group established in 2001, promoting the health, safety and welfare of road workers.

Members are drawn from UK roads administrations, enforcement agencies, contractors, designers and their associations and are representative of the following organisations:

  • Department for Transport
  • Highways Agency
  • Transport Northern Ireland
  • Welsh Government
  • Transport Scotland
  • Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)
  • The SURVIVE Group
  • Traffic Management Contractors Association
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Association for Consultancy and Engineering
  • Mineral Products Association
  • Highways Term Maintenance Association

Membership also includes representatives of leading contractors and designers.

Why RoWSaF?

The average fatality rate for those maintaining our road network is one of the highest amongst employment sectors. Over the past ten years 13 road workers* were killed whilst working on motorways and major A roads in England.

While the long term trend is downwards, there were four fatal incidents involving road workers in 2010 and one in 2012. There is therefore an ongoing need for the industry to work together to reduce risks for road workers and continue to strive for zero harm year on year.

*Source: The Highways Agency: Road workers include all operatives working on the Agency’s network who are directly exposed to risk from network users. These include all workers contracted to work for the Agency in traffic management activities and incident support services, maintenance and renewal schemes, vehicle recovery operators and any other activities where live traffic is present. We have identified road workers as a separate operational area for the purposes of Aiming for Zero, due to the high-risk nature of their work. However, they are a natural subset of the construction and maintenance worker group.

The Motorway: Life in the Fast Lane

The motorway: life in the fast lane

Road worker safety has been under the spotlight as part of a new BBC documentary about life on the M6.

The motorway: life in the fast lane takes an unprecedented look at the often unseen and unappreciated workers who help keep one of the UK’s busiest motorways running.


From left to right are Martin Pollard, Chevron Traffic Management Limited, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, and Paul Mitchell, Head of Health and Safety at the Highways Agency.

RoWSaF wins prestigious Prince Michael road safety award

The Road Workers' Safety Forum has been recognised at the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards for its collaborative work and innovations to make roadworks safer. The team picked up the award from His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent at a ceremony at The Savoy in London on Tuesday 10 December.

Paul Mitchell, Head of Health and Safety at the Highways Agency, said:

"This award is a fantastic recognition for the years of hard work put in by all of the RoWSaF partners. There is no doubt that the new techniques and procedures that we have introduced have saved lives, but there is still work to do and the forum will continue to drive forward innovations that make roadworks safer for everyone."

In making their recommendation for an award to His Royal Highness, the judges said:

"This highly innovative and effective forum brings together, in partnership, those responsible for the engineering workforce, the combined knowledge and experience of so many commercial and statutory organisations, and ensures that the highest levels of duty of care are in force."

Simplified traffic management layouts have enabled the removal of the 200-yard and 600-yard 'lane closed ahead' signs, reducing the number of signs required to warn of roadworks ahead. Since the simplified layouts were introduced, it is estimated there has been a 40 per cent reduction in the number of times that road workers have to cross live carriageways to set up and remove signs in the central reserve.

Connect Plus has reported more than 500,000 carriageway crossings being removed on the M25, while A-one+ has estimated the removal of 5,734 working hours when road workers would have been otherwise exposed to the risk of working in live lanes

Paul Mitchell adds:

"RoWSaF is proud of the scale and momentum that has been generated around road worker safety – the changes that have been implemented and adopted by the industry, the willingness to challenge current practises and share best practise, and the enthusiasm from every member organisation to make a real difference."

Public Asked to Take Extra Care

RoWSaF members launch respect campaign with the message “the next time you’re approaching road works, think about the road workers, think about their families.”

Listen to the radio commercials here . . .

Leading road maintenance companies have joined together with the Highways Agency to launch a national radio campaign to ask drivers to ‘take extra care’ through roadworks.

Read more . . .

Caught on camera:

New CCTV highlights importance of safe driving at roadworks

See video here . . .

CCTV footage which shows the shocking consequences of motorists not slowing down or paying attention when driving through roadworks has been released by the Highways Agency today.

Read more . . .

Major Projects Delivery Hub Health & Safety Action Group

The group has been set up to create a consistently high standard across all Major Projects schemes, driving improvements by capturing best practice, lessons learnt and innovation. The membership of this group is made up of health and safety specialists from the Highways Agency's delivery partners. A number of focus areas have been identified by the group to collaboratively develop best practice [o1] guidance. The aim is to identify the current highest standard, implement this as the new minimum, and then look to raise it further. The Action Group produces monthly health and safety briefings to update on activities and help raise awareness of lessons learnt from incidents and innovations in Health and Safety.

CIHT Awards 2013

Road worker safety projects featured as outstanding achievements at the CIHT Awards event held on 13 June at Madame Tussauds, London

CIHT/Lafarge Tarmac Health & Safety at Work Award

Winner: BAM, Nuttall Morgan Sindall Joint Venture for their work on the M62 Junction 25-30 managed motorway project, which is paving the way for better road worker safety by becoming the first major project to deliver zero carriageway crossings as part of the Highway Agency’s ‘Aiming for Zero’ strategy.

CIHT John Smart Road Safety Award

Winner: A-one+ Integrated Highway Services for their work in using simplified traffic management technology that enabled the removal of the 200 yard and 600 yard 'lane closed ahead' signs, reducing the number of times that road workers have to cross the live carriageway to set up and remove signs in the central reserve.

CIHT/Ringway Innovation Award

Highly commended: The Colas Traffic Safety System, which uses CCTV installed on Impact Protection Vehicles to actively monitor the surrounding proximity of vehicles. If any encroaching vehicle is picked up by the CCTV system both audio and visual warnings are activated to alert the workers of approaching danger so that they have time to move to a safe position.

More information on the full list of winning, highly commended and commended projects is available in the CIHT Awards 2013 supplement at

The Highways Agency's Supplier Recognition Scheme 2013 is open for nominations. More information is available at: