Htma to Launch Road Worker Fatigue Assessment Guidance

Highways HTMA

New fatigue assessment guidance for highways maintenance workers is set to be released later this month to help contractors make sure their operatives are not at risk from being too tired.
The guidance has been developed by the Highways Term Maintenance Association working with three other industry bodies and the Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL).  It will be discussed at the upcoming ‘Road to Tomorrow’ HTMA conference on 26 October.

“The guidance will allow us to put some science into our planning and help predict where fatigue could become a health and safety issue so we can mitigate that,” said HTMA health, safety and welfare group chair Dave Campbell who is also health and safety director for Eurovia.

HTMA has invested in development of the guidance with the Term Maintenance Contractors Association, the Road Safety Markings Association and the Mineral Products Association.  The work is in response to a Highways England’s Interim Advice Notes 189/90 on fatigue.

HSL conducted four focus groups with 48 operatives and foremen looking at traffic management, surfacing, road marking and winter/cyclical maintenance.  Results from the focus groups combined with an existing Health & Safety Executive fatigue tool has resulted in the new guidance to help the highways maintenance sector reassess fatigue risk.

“We are all doing more and more night work to reduce congestion but that comes with the greater risk of fatigue,” Campbell said.  “Being conscious of this and our duty of care to our employees, we want to make sure that we have done all in our power to make sure that that risk is minimised.  The guidance will help us work out whether our operatives should be staying over near the site or if they are travelling in a van together we can make sure the driver has less strenuous work to do during the shift.”

The research for the guidance also highlighted that risk was not always where industry had expected it to be.  “When we started the work, we thought the biggest issue was going to be in traffic management as those people work the longest hours.  But it turned out that as long as the work is properly managed, they have the lowest risk because they get more breaks,” said lead for the HTMA task and finish group on fatigue and Colas head of health and safety Pat Sheehan.  “It has helped refocus our attention.

“The guidance will help our staff understand what fatigue looks like and also gives pointers on what individuals can do to reduce their fatigue risk including how to improve sleep, nutrition and hydration.”

The fatigue guidance will be discussed at the Road to Tomorrow HTMA conference in London in a panel debate on ‘Balancing priorities, lessening the impact’ where Campbell will be a panel member.  Find out more about the event at

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