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Highway Engineers: Courting Trouble?
- Wednesday December 11, 2019
The IHE’s Southern Branch held a CPD event in October at Ashburton Hall, Winchester. The 28th seminar offered insights into a range of current topics.
Quality CPD is essential to keep members’ registration current and up-to-date. It also provides a starting point for new entrants to the profession to grow their career.
This year’s session, attended by 130 members, was an update on a topic first aired by the branch in 2005, which looked at the potential effect of the Corporate Manslaughter Bill on highway engineers upon its introduction.
The Bill came into force as the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act in 2007 and has far-reaching consequences compared with previous legislation. It was therefore appropriate to update our members of the changes and make them aware of the pitfalls that can be encountered in their everyday lives while undertaking their duties.
The day’s programme was designed to cover both the need for good practice by all parties within the industry and how to achieve this, and also to warn of the consequences the Act can impose.
Under the chairmanship of IHE president, Jonathan Pearson, the day began with CEO Richard Hayes explaining the legal challenges, which currently concentrate the minds of highway engineers, such as climate change and its impact upon our networks.
In recent years, extreme events have become more of a part of our daily lives. Flooding, abnormally high temperatures, heavy snowfalls, and high winds due to hurricanes have all tested our ability to deal with extreme weather effectively.
Each event presents a challenge that needs to be met with a positive response based upon dedication, planning and care, with overarching awareness of the laws that govern corporate liability.
Paul Aldridge from WJ Group presented on the necessity of having qualified competent employees within the industry. Paul is a Fellow of the IHE and a regular supporter of the branch and the IHE has encouraged WJ’s staff to gain the qualification of Eng Tech or above in order to enhance their ability and confidence as individuals, leading to improved standards within the profession.
To explain the consequences of possible negligence within our actions, the IHE invited Gerard Forlin QC to address delegates with a follow-up to his original presentation at our Annual Seminar in 2005 and to explain the changes made by the 2007 Act. Gerard, an eloquent and lively speaker, left us thinking more broadly about our actions and their potential consequences.
Following the excellent buffet lunch provided by the Hampshire CC facilities staff, the afternoon session began with Keith Smith, group technical manager with Chevron Traffic Management Ltd – a leading company in the UK temporary traffic management (TTM) business and a regular supporter of the IHE, in his capacity as lead tutor of the Postgraduate Diploma in TTM Engineering for the Institute.
Keith highlighted the vagaries of poor planning and design of TTM schemes and the ease with which these can lead to prosecution when incidents arise.
Southern Branch committee member Gregg Holland gave a detailed presentation on the importance of Road Safety Audits (RSAs).
Gregg is a specialist in this area and has worked overseas for many years as a specialist adviser in road safety as well as in the UK.
RSAs are key to getting design, build and operation right from a beginning-to-end perspective, with improvements to ensure that corporate manslaughter does not arise from the project.