Increasing traffic due to summer travel and lessening restrictions is increasing the risk for roadside workers in Campbell River.
“One of the greatest risks to a roadside worker in Campbell River is a motor vehicle being driven through their workplace,” says Louise Yako, program director for Road Safety at Work. “Dangerous behaviour like speeding and distracted driving puts workers at risk – and drivers too.”
Road Safety at Work is running their 11th annual province-wide cone zone awareness campaign, asking people to be aware when driving past people working near and on roads.
“Anyone who works alongside or on roads in close proximity to traffic is considered a roadside worker.” This includes municipal workers, landscapers, flag people, tow truck drivers, road maintenance crews, telecommunications and utility workers, and emergency and enforcement personnel. “And each one of them is someone’s parent, friend, neighbour, and work colleague,” Yako says.
Between 2011 and 2020, 12 roadside workers were killed and 207 were injured resulting in time loss in B.C. Last year, 23 workers were injured because of being hit by a motor vehicle.
So what should drivers do when approaching a Cone Zone?
“Slow down and leave your phone alone,” says Yako. “Pay attention to temporary road signs, traffic cones, and directions given by traffic control persons.”
The province’s “Slow Down, Move Over” law spells out legal responsibilities for drivers when vehicles with red, blue, or amber flashing lights – tow trucks, fire, police, ambulance – are present. The law requires drivers to slow to 70 km/h if the posted speed limit is greater than 80 km/h. If the posted speed is less than 80 km/h, drivers need to slow to 40 km/h. Drivers should always be prepared move over and increase the space between their vehicle and the work zone, if it’s safe to do so.
Roadside worker safety is a shared responsibility. Employers are required by law to ensure the health and safety of their workers and contractors along B.C.’s roads and highways, including providing job specific training, equipment, supervision and resources. Workers can increase their safety by following safe work procedures (including work zone set up and take down) and reporting unsafe work conditions to their supervisor.
Tickets for driving infractions in Cone Zones can be costly:
· Using an electronic device while driving ($368)
· Speeding ($196 and up)
· Disobeying a flag person ($196)
· Disobeying a traffic control device ($121)