A new passport for workers set to improve health and safety on site
A step forward
The new passport or smart card system is related to the development of a universal ‘infrastructure’ identification card which covers all the different sectors, and which also involves the DfT (Department for Transport). The development of this smart identification system follows similar schemes or systems set forth for the utilities and rail sectors.
Highways England is hopeful that within the next year, all the suppliers involved in road construction and repair work will be part of the system. Meanwhile, workers will have to shoulder the one-off expense of purchasing the smart identification card, which costs £30. There is also a replacement fee of £5 if a card is lost. Once a worker has their smart identification card, they will have to present it for admittance to their work site. The identification card will be scanned once the worker arrives at the site to make sure that the worker is completely qualified as well as available to do work at the site.
Aside from the introduction of the smart identification card, Highways England has other plans as well. The organisation has been collaborating closely with more than 20 suppliers as well as partners from different sections of the industry in order to create and develop a universal introduction course, which will be delivered by the leading road infrastructure and training course developer, Lantra. The general or universal course will cover all the important projects and renewal and construction sites.
What Highways England has to say
According to Highways England’s operations regional director, Simon Jones, the scheme does not net Highways England any profit – the money which will come in will be used to pay Mitie, which provides the administration and the cards themselves. Mr. Jones adds that it is not a profit-making endeavour for Highways England in any way, but it’s all about the workers’ safety. They see it as a ‘game changer’ when it comes to workers’ safety on site.
Mr. Jones also says that the new system will make them comparable to other groups involved in infrastructure, such as Network Rail and various power and water companies. They know that the Department for Transport is also looking into the development of a ‘skills identification card,’ and this can be part and parcel of a whole bundle.