Red light spells danger: Colas signposts sector to safety innovation

25/02/2019
Chris Ames

Colas has hailed an ‘ingenious’ safety innovation that beams a red danger zone around its biggest paving machines.

The firm said it believes the system will make a significant difference in terms of on-site safety.

Local construction machinery specialist Highway Service developed the system, which produces a red beam as a visible warning to operatives inside the red line that they are in the danger area, in collaboration with Colas in the North East.

Colas said that although it has no commercial interest in the system it hopes to see it adopted throughout the industry, and is keen to share this within the international Colas Group and ‘delighted’ that other UK contractors are already expressing interest.

Carl Fergusson, CEO at Colas UK, said: ‘As a major player in the UK alongside our expertise from the rest of the world, we are keen to foster relationships with other expert UK businesses that create innovative solutions which will be good for the whole industry – not just ourselves. We want to share this technology and are already signposting other firms to the developers, Highway Service.’

Working with Colas operational teams, Highway Service took existing technology and developed it to create an unmistakable LED-lit red zone around the Colas construction machines.

Throwing a light cordon around pavers and rollers leaves Colas staff in no doubt where workers and vehicles should be – and where they should not venture, the firm said.

The system uses LED lights located on top of the machine or on the canopy. At night, these throw a clear red box around the vehicle, marking out a solid red line around the sides of the machine to a standard distance of two metres.

This can be extended to match the size of the paving activity at the rear of the machine with a five metre clearance at the back in the case of pavers. This can be both front and back in the case of other big machines. The system also includes blue arrow lights, which make clear to the roller drivers the extent of the exclusion zone at the rear of the paver.

Highway Service used the LED lights because lasers are potentially harmful to sight. It has recently finished installing its safety system on all Colas vehicles operating out of its Newcastle depot.

Lee Corbett of Highway Service said: ‘We have been delighted to work closely with Colas on this project and we are really pleased with the results.’

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