Last year, one roadside worker died as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle and 25 were injured. Preventing people from getting hurt, or fatally injured, is the impetus behind the recurring campaign from the Work Zone Safety Alliance, which encourages drivers to slow down when they’re in a work zone.
The “Cone Zone” ad campaign, which features a diverse cast of workers, makes an appeal to all drivers to see those who work on or near the road as real people who deserve to come home at the end of the day, in the same shape as they left for work. “Working on the roadside is a very dangerous job. BCAA’s roadside service technicians are out there year round and they experience it first-hand. The Cone Zone Campaign is an important way to raise awareness and help our team get home safely at the end of their shift,” says Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s director, Community Engagement. Now in its eighth year, the campaign kicked off in May with an enforcement blitz with the Vancouver police. Keeping safe around roadside workers isn’t just a Vancouver concern, however.
“With the increase in road work at this time of year across the province, I can’t stress enough the need for all drivers to slow down and use caution in construction zones. The people carrying out this important road work are in a vulnerable position, and they deserve our patience and full attention,” says the Hon. Claire Trevena, minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Road safety is a shared responsibility,” notes Mark Ordeman, WorkSafeBC manager in Industry and Labour Services for occupational road safety. “Drivers need to slow down, ignore the phone, and pay attention. Employers are responsible for ensuring workers are properly trained and have the right tools and equipment to set up a safe work zone when working roadside. “Workers need to be trained and supervised in knowing how to identify hazards and assess risks and how to follow safe work procedures. They should understand set-up and take-down regulations, wear appropriate high-visibility garments, and be encouraged to report unsafe work conditions to their supervisor.” The websites conezonebc.com and worksafebc.com/ conezone have resources for drivers, employers, and workers. There are also downloadable posters you can print and put up in your lunch room. W