Best Practice

LOCATION: Contracting - On-highway ARTICLE YEAR 2018
ACTIVITY: Behavioural Safety management COMPANY: Tarmac Contracting
SUB ACTIVITY: No Sub Activity Available COMPANY LOCATION: A1 Motorway Maintenace Depot
Safety culture on the A1 Darrington to Dishforth contract


The A1 (M) Darrington to Dishforth project is a long-term maintenance and operation contract delivered by Tarmac on behalf of Road Management Services (RMS).

The strong health and safety culture of the workforce was rewarded when the project team reached an incredible milestone of seven years and 350,000 hours worked with no recordable accidents or lost-time injuries. This achievement reflects Tarmac’s safety culture and an ethos that ensures the proactive identification and correction of potential hazards is second nature to all those involved.

Tarmac safety initiatives take a holistic approach to safeguarding both the physical and mental wellbeing of operatives. Through ensuring that everyone returns home unharmed at the end of each day, including customers, contractors, suppliers, employees and the public – Tarmac will achieve the ultimate goal of 'Zero Harm'.

Tarmac’s leadership has introduced a range of initiative’s that have contributed to the achievement of the safety record on this contract, they include;

  • A proactive approach from the start of every project. Early contractor involvement is vital to allow risks to be mitigated and, where possible, eliminated in the preliminary design stages.
  • A 'collaborative ethos' – all the partners put teamwork and collective responsibility at the heart of meeting the safety challenge, ensuring that best practice is shared.
  • Frequent joint operations meetings on the project that have helped to highlight and manage health and safety concerns.
  • Proactive identification of safety hazards due to the relaunch of an innovative Safety Observations programme and mobile app. Operatives can also choose to fill out cards. The system has been promoted by management. 'Say it, sort it and report it'.
  • A culture of approachability and personal interactions, ensuring colleagues can relate any problems they are experiencing.
  • This helps to identify emerging problems at an early stage. The management team has a target to increase personal contact with the workforce by undertaking at least four face-to-face meetings a month.
  • Implementation of Tarmac’s 5 + 2 system that provides operatives with a guide to the safety exclusion zone around mobile plant.
  • A third-party Employee Assistance Programme enables operatives to seek professional help for any health and wellbeing issues outside of work.
  • Sharing lessons more widely throughout the highways community. Tarmac has hosted several Highways England Roadworker Safety Forums.


  • Strong health and safety culture throughout workforce
  • Recognition of management’s commitment to safety
  • Individuals and teams recognise their responsibility for safety
  • Open approach to the discussion of safety issues and willingness to address them
  • Excellent safety record – 350,000 hours without an LTI
  • 1,000% increase in safety observations from 27 in 2014 to 250 in 2017
  • Targets for face-to-face safety meetings exceeded by circa 14%
  • A safer environment for all.


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