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AI win coveted Highways England safety award

Aggregate Industries win Highways England Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Safety

Aggregate Industries’ SmartBrake system wins Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Safety category

AGGREGATE Industries have won a prestigious Highways England Award for their pioneering new vehicle auto-braking system that is set to transform road worker safety.

As the overall winner in the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Safety category, Aggregate Industries’ SmartBrake system was commended for its potential to drive improvements in behavioural safety culture and raise safety performance in the highways sector.    

SmartBrake works to eliminate workplace transport incidents by utilizing an Auto-braking Radar System (ARS) linked to a forward-facing/rear-camera detection system. It uses low-energy microwaves emitted from the vehicle to automatically activate the vehicle’s braking system if anything is detected within a defined exclusion zone. 

The system alerts the driver and sends a downloadable video footage clip of the exclusion zone to a designated person as soon as the auto-braking system is activated or deactivated. This allows the designated person to gain an immediate real-time assessment of the scenario.

The footage can also be used for investigative and training purposes, to support workforce engagement and improve behavioural safety culture. Since its installation, there have been zero reversing incidents reported on sites where SmartBrake has been deployed. 

Aggregate Industries, Vision Techniques, Bomag and CRH Plant collaboratively developed the innovative technology, working alongside DE Plant and Munihire, who have been instrumental in supporting AI in sharing the innovation across the industry.

Judges commented that SmartBrake is something that would get real results in driving improvements in behavioural safety culture and tackling a known issue in highways industry safety performance.

Paddy Murphy, director of contracting at Aggregate Industries UK Ltd, said: ‘Receiving this award is great recognition for the collaborative work that has gone into the development of SmartBrake and its subsequent roll-out across our business and supply chain. The road worker-plant-vehicle interface is one of the biggest risks in the industry. Over the past few years, a lot of work has been done to safely segregate people, plant and vehicles yet incidents are still happening. This is why SmartBrake is so important to us. 

‘The highways sector’s behavioural safety culture must improve to mitigate these types of incidents. SmartBrake not only applies the brakes if there is an obstruction in a defined exclusion zone, but, using real-life footage captured to educate personnel of their actions, is slowly but surely improving safety behaviours for the better. We aim to continue to share our successes with our peers to drive positive change across the highways industry.’

To share best practice and innovation, Aggregate Industries have promoted the positive benefits of SmartBrake to clients, tier 1 contractors, local authorities, manufacturers and the supply chain through a series of workshops, site visits and safety days. 

In total, 23 safety initiatives were rewarded at the first Highways England Awards, which have been designed to recognize activities which further the organization’s imperatives of safety, customer service and delivery. For more details about the awards, visit: highwaysengland.co.uk

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