Building the safe zone

This article is from February edition of Roads & Infrastructure magazine, posted on , by Tara Hamid

A long-term player in the temporary fencing market, 1300TempFence has recently expanded its fleet to traffic management solutions. The company’s National Category Manager for Traffic, Pezhman Salahshori, talks to Roads & Infrastructure about safety compliance for traffic barriers.

Pezhman Salahshori, National Category Manager for Traffic, 1300TempFence.
Pezhman Salahshori, National Category Manager for Traffic, 1300TempFence.

Pezhman Salahshori regards himself as a “custodian of safety protocols” within the traffic industry. Having recently joined 1300TempFence as the National Category Manager for Traffic products, he has nearly two decades’ experience working with traffic management products in various capacities, from rentals to sales and operations. As such, he is well aware of the risks of non-compliance.

“These products are designed to save lives. But they are only effective if they have been tested by the manufacturer and met the compliance requirements. The customer also needs to be educated about the limitations and capabilities of each product, and as suppliers, I think it’s our job to provide that education,” he says.

Salahshori recalls how things were different 20 years ago, when there were less regulations guiding selection of traffic barriers.

“When I first came into the industry, there were only a handful of products that had any sort of rigorous testing and compliance done. Most of traffic management supplies, predominantly on the non-highway side, consisted of witches’ hats and orange bollards, maybe the black and yellow barricades, but there was very little in way of proprietary safety products that were tested and met compliance,” he says.

Taking a safety-first approach

But how does one determine the best type of road barrier for each project? Salahshori says the choice often comes down to the specific project’s requirements, as well as specifications by the road authority and the project traffic manager.

“Various factors can feed into that decision, for example how close to the barrier people need to work,” he says. “Usually for high-speed applications the choice is between steel and concrete barriers and for low-speed applications, the choice is often between a water-filled or a concrete barrier. Over the past decade, there has been a slow move away from concrete barriers towards greater adoption of steel barriers, as steel offers less deflection and tends to be more forgiving to the occupants of the vehicle in case there is a collision with the barrier.”

With all of these barrier choices, Salahshori once again emphasises that knowledge of each product’s limitations and capabilities is critical to ensuring maximum safety.

“Over the past few years, hundreds of new products have entered the road market and it’s unreasonable to expect a project engineer, who might be first or second year out of university, to understand the capabilities and limitations of each proprietary products.

“So, I think we all have a role to play, whether we are a rental company, a manufacturer or a safety officer on a project, to give the right information that allows our customers to decide the best product to use. It’s our moral obligation.”

For its part, Salahshori says 1300TempFence is making sure its products are compliant with the highest safety standards, while the personnel at the company’s branches are all trained to provide their customers with full product information.

A new product category

While 1300TempFence has had a strong presence in the Australian market since early the 1990s for hire and sale of temporary fencing products, traffic barriers are rather a new product category for the company.

Salahshori’s appointment also coincides with a period of rapid growth for 1300TempFence, where the company is growing its presence in the traffic management space and expanding its nation-wide branch network.

The SafeZone steel road barriers, recently introduced by 1300TempFence, are among the highest rated in the industry.
The SafeZone steel road barriers, recently introduced by 1300TempFence, are among the highest rated in the industry.

Late last year, the company introduced its SafeZone steel road barriers, with the system already being deployed on some of the biggest road construction projects in the country. According to Salahshori, the barriers are among the highest rated in the industry.

“The unique thing about the SafeZone steel road barriers is that they provide the best level of deflection performance for guardrail, which is a MASH Test Level 4 (TL4) compliance level” he says.

The MASH TL4 crash test required the barriers to take the impact of a 10-tonne truck travelling at 90 km/h and 15 degrees. The test is designed to replicate a high-speed crash where the vehicle deviates from its original path by three lanes.

“Our steel barriers have passed that test with less deflection than any other steel barrier in their class. Less deflection means the project teams can be allowed to work closer to the barrier, which narrows the exclusion zone and adds more efficiency to projects,” says Salahshori.

To complement the steel barriers, 1300TempFence has also introduced plastic crash cushions that help prevent severe damage to vehicles colliding with the steel barriers at either ends.

Building on reputation

Prior to introducing the SafeZone steel road barriers, 1300TempFence also had thousands of kilometres of its Shield I water filled safety crash barriers installed throughout the country. Made in Australia and approved by road authorities Australia wide, the Shield I water filled barriers offer a MASH TL1 level of traffic protection – making them ideal for deployment in built up urban areas where speed zones are 50 km/hr or less.

Going forward, Salahshori says 1300TempFence will focus on expanding its fleet further, while building on its brand reputation as a customer-centric company.

“We realise that we are starting our journey in the traffic barrier space somewhat behind the more established players in the market, so our goal is to build a foothold and carve out a niche for ourselves by providing customers with superior customer service and expert advice,” he notes. “We are currently in the midst of a rapid and expansive growth phase. I’ve come on-board at just the right time and my goal is to ride that wave and along the way, add some complementary products to bolster our offering.”

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