Amey staff have trialled wearable technology that could reduce risks for drivers and lone workers by detecting potential hazards such as tiredness and attention loss.
Biometric and location devices were tried out for eight weeks on Highways England’s North East Regional Technology Maintenance Contract to detect when workers’ bodies were under stress.
The technology included a drowsiness detector collar and an ear clip that measured blood flow to detect attention loss and signs of fatigue, as well as a wristband to alert workers to signs of heat stress, risky posture and the wearer’s exertion level.
A location badge can be activated by the wearer to allow helpers to respond faster and more accurately in the event of an accident.
Amey principal engineer for intelligent transport systems Mike Kehoe said: “We are always looking for ways to increase worker safety, and wearable safety technology has huge possibilities.
“Our eight-week trial on Highways England’s North East Regional Technology Maintenance Contract really put it through its paces. Every member of staff on that contract drives a vehicle and can be out at any time of the day or night, in all weathers or in locations like embankments and next to live traffic.
“We found that the tech is transferable to other situations and could potentially provide a wealth of data about the wellbeing of our people, which will help us improve general safety.”
Amey will now consider a report on the capabilities of the wearable technology, which was provided by Fujitsu, to improve staff safety across its business. The contractor plans to evaluate other devices.
“We have more work to do to evaluate the market and look at ways to make the tech useable every day for our people”, Kehoe said. “It’s definitely the future, and many organisations are looking at the concept. By putting our workers first we are on the way to making it a reality.”