A14 project monitored health and safety of workforce

Pioneering technology was used to improve safety of workers on A14 project.

Pioneering technology was used to improve safety of workers on A14 project. - Credit: HIGHWAYS ENGLAND

Poineering use of Artificial Intelligence trialled in the construction of the £1.5 billion A14 upgrade could help to speed up major road projects in future, Highways England has said.

Thousands of pieces of information gathered by the innovative system, being used for the first time, also made sites safer for staff and it will now be rolled out elsewhere.

While working on the 21-mile A14 upgrade between Huntingdon and Cambridge, contractors wanted to create a uniform way of collecting data and launched an app to record hazards and good practice, with the project recording 4,500 observations in a single month.

A14 road project will be rolled out across the country.

A14 road project will be rolled out across the country. - Credit: HIGHWAYS ENGLAND

Using the information, the £70,000 initiative generated a daily risk profile based on the data it had collected, identifying which days were higher risk and why.
As a result 135 “features” such as fatigue, were identified, enabling work patterns to be altered accordingly.

Initially showing a 75 per cent success rate in calculating high risk days, it was 160 per cent more accurate than staff trying to assess problem areas.

Highways England A14 project director David Bray, said: “Highways England has adopted the A14’s approach and technologies for its own digital platform which is being rolled out across our portfolio.

"We believe this technology will deliver significant cost savings as paper-based reporting is replaced by real time data, consistently captured and accessible to our project managers”

Mark Tootell, who led the project, said: “This exciting research demonstrates three important principles that projects should adopt - the importance of fostering a healthy observation reporting culture across the entire workforce, the value in taking a variety of factors into account and the need for well organised, broad and honest data sets.”

Jaydip Jani, A14 data analyst, added: “The AI health and safety project showed incredible promise and will only improve as more, better quality data is available. It has shown the industry the intrinsic value in well-gathered data and the potential for truly data-guided decision making.”

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Staff fatigue, including work after a bank holiday or national sporting event, was identified as a key problem area and practical measures, such as ensuing breaks were taken, were introduced will now be used on other projects.