A new, independent survey of the highways industry has revealed that two-thirds of tech-enabled businesses reported a reduction in accidents or no accidents at all in the last 12 months – 50 per cent more than industry standard.
The Driving Change: impact of technology in the highways sector report highlights the influence that technology can have on the preventability of accidents, with over two-thirds (67 per cent) of businesses using paper-based processes reporting preventable accidents, compared to only 53 per cent of businesses using digital technology – a reduction of 26 per cent.
It also found that not a single business that uses software to enforce process, track job progress and analyse job performance reported an increase in accidents in the past year, compared to 11 per cent of other businesses.
Better safety training for workers, more detailed vehicle inspections and improved road quality were listed as the top measures to prevent accidents in future.
Graham Whistance, Managing Director of MyMobileWorkers, commissioners of the report, explained:
“With 39 million vehicles on the road in Great Britain, our network is being put under more strain than ever before, as are the businesses and workers that make up the sector. However, while maintaining our highways infrastructure is crucial, workforce safety must always be front of mind.
“There is no doubt a role for government legislation and regulation here, but what our research tells us that investment in digital technologies is giving businesses an opportunity to take extra control. By making the switch from paper-based to digital, highways companies are improving the safety of some 300,000 workers on the roads today, while also improving compliance, job performance and productivity.”
The new research also reveals that using digital software improves business results and productivity. Businesses in the highways sector that track the progress of their jobs using digital technology complete jobs in an average of 4.4 hours while vastly improving quality of work, over 50 per cent faster than those that use paper-based approaches.
What’s more, over a fifth (21 per cent) of those using digital technology to track job progress are able to provide customer updates in real-time, almost double the number of those that don’t (11 per cent).
Herts Traffic Management has seen a 40 per cent increase in business efficiencies since switching from paper-based to digital. Richard Soanes, Managing Director, said: “The insights from the Driving Change report are telling. There is a big gap in the highways sector for more efficient and safer ways of working, so having this data to raise awareness and provide a clear solution is invaluable.
“Having switched from paper-based to digital ways of working, I have seen the significant business benefits first hand. Compliance and safety performance feel robust and we have seen a 40 per cent increase in business efficiencies through gathering data, accumulated in the office and out in the field.”
When it came to compliance, the majority (98 per cent) of those surveyed said they are fully compliant however, some standout challenges still remain. Most notably safeguarding all equipment, which was reported by 45 per cent of businesses. Ensuring all safety procedures are followed and staying up-to-date with new laws, regulation and policies were also cited as leading barriers to compliance in the sector.
"While most companies surveyed state they are fully compliant, this report tells us there is still a long list of issues to address,” Graham added. “Compliance is much more than simply filling out a tick-box form, it’s about making sure all areas of the business, from equipment, to employees and ways of working are all as robust as possible.”