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Using the HAUC App to keep vulnerable customers safe in Hounslow

The award-winning Highway Authorities and Utilities Committee (HAUC) App is revolutionising safety protocols in the highway and utility industry.

Road works - pedestrian footpath closed

The HAUC App is designed to increase health and safety awareness in the highway and utility sectors. Its primary goal is to minimise risks, prevent accidents, and enhance the well-being of workers in these high-risk sectors. With a dedicated section for vulnerable road users, including wheelchair users, visually impaired individuals, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing, the app ensures inclusivity in street and road works.

It serves as a standardised tool, providing guidance and promoting safer interactions between road users and construction sites. The app's accessibility has been integrated into training programs by industry champions such as Cadent Gas, becoming a vital resource for enhancing health and safety practices within the industry.

Gary Hawkins, Head of Streetworks and Reinstatement for the London Network at Cadent Gas, recognised the app's potential in raising awareness about safety and compliance. He is spearheading an initiative to install the HAUC App on all devices within Cadent Gas, making it a minimum standard for all staff and bringing real benefits to customers. Gary explained:

“The team on site in Hounslow had a customer who was blind. He had a daily routine of getting up at 5 a.m. and leaving his house to go up to the shop whilst it was quiet and less busy on the roads and pavements. The team excavated around the side of his house which interrupted his usual route. They found him one morning walking in the middle of the road struggling to get up to the shop. They guided him back to the path and helped him to and from his destination.

The team then contacted me to ask for some advice on how to best handle the situation whilst the works were ongoing. I suggested downloading the HAUC App to the team leader’s phone to assess the section regarding visual impairment. This provided the crucial advice needed to guide the team on site to help the customer navigate his way around the works.”

The app has also played a crucial role in supporting vulnerable customers via Cadent’s Priority Services Register, providing the business with a tool to engage more fully with customers who require further support and assistance to negotiate Cadent’s works sites. In this specific case in Hounslow, the app's guidance on visual impairment empowered the team to assist a blind customer effectively, ensuring his safety and managing his expectations during ongoing works.

Gary presented at the HAUC(UK) Convention in April 2023 where he emphasised the importance of proactive planning and engagement with customers who need support. He shared the challenges faced within the industry and advocated for a more inclusive approach. The presentation highlighted real-life examples, including the impact of construction works on individuals stressing the need for companies to prioritise inclusivity and create accessible environments.

The HAUC App is a beacon of progress in the highway and utility industry, promoting safety, inclusivity, and awareness. Through its specific focus on vulnerable road users and the experiences of professionals like Gary Hawkins, the app has not only transformed safety protocols but also fostered a culture of consideration within the industry for all road users. As an essential tool for industry professionals, the HAUC App continues to pave the way towards a safer, more inclusive future for all road users.

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