Between 2004 and 2013, 40 truck drivers were seriously injured by a passing vehicle while changing tires, putting on tire chains, or doing other vehicle maintenance tasks.
In that same period, 239 roadside vehicle incidents involving workers were reported to WorkSafeBC — 15 of these workers died. Over the past decade an average of 24 workers per year were struck by motor vehicles while they worked on or beside the road. And it’s not just truck drivers getting hurt; other workers at serious risk of injury from passing cars include emergency response personnel, municipal workers and landscapers.
As summer approaches and roadside work increases, there will be over 25,000 British Columbians working in “cone zones”. These roadside work areas whether large or small, are only separated from passing traffic by orange cones and other delineators in order to keep both the workers and drivers safe from injury.
Workers report that speeding and driver distraction, primarily cell phone use, are the most common dangerous driving behaviours that they witness.
Here are some ways to make sure that both you and roadside workers stay safe:
Pay attention — if you are using a hands-free device, end your call immediately
Respect roadside workers — make sure to give them space (move over to another lane, if it’s safe to do so), and follow their signs and directions
Check for traffic delays before you leave
DriveBC.ca — Provides real time information on current road and travel conditions
Listen to your local radio station traffic report
Visit your municipal website for work zone locations
Allow more time for your commute and take a different route if possible
Even with safety measures in place, serious injuries, near misses, and fatalities caused by distracted, aggressive or speeding drivers are a reality of the workplace for roadside workers in B.C. Watch their stories at ConeZoneBC.com.
The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and RCMP will be setting up construction zone enforcement locations on May 12 in Vancouver and throughout the province. Results from a previous VPD enforcement initiative on December 12 resulted in 67 violation tickets written to drivers for cell phone distraction, disobeying a red light and traffic directions, and speeding while driving through a work zone.
VPD enforcement at more than one of the following locations on May 12:
Dunbar between 49th Ave – 51st Ave
Cambie and Smithe (Cambie corridor to downtown)
Pt. Grey between MacDonald and Trafalgar
E. 29th between Slocan and Nanaimo
Burrard Street Bridge work Zone
WorkSafeBC Industry and Labour Services Manager, Mark Ordeman –
“Drivers often associate cone zones with traffic control personnel or flaggers, but it’s important to remember that there are many other types of workers at the side of the road. Between 2004 and 2013, a significant number of serious injury claims were filed by transport (truck) drivers injured by a passing vehicle while working outside of their own vehicle parked at the side of the road.”
Audio link to quote.
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, Shirley Bond –
“Workplace safety is of paramount importance. Increasingly we see evidence of distracted drivers, and we need to remember that for many people, the workplace includes being on the road. We need people to respect these cone zones. Regardless of where you work — in an office, at a warehouse, or behind the wheel — everyone wants to get home safely at the end of the day.”
OIC Traffic Section, Vancouver Police Department, Inspector Les Yeo –
“Some motorists/drivers are still not getting the message about the dangers of using an electronic device while driving. It’s foolish and puts all road users at risk, including traffic controllers who are trying to get you to your destination safely.”
OIC Enhanced Traffic Services Programs, RCMP “E” Division Traffic Services, Inspector I.E. (Ted) Emanuels –
“RCMP Traffic Services officers across the province will be supporting the Cone Zone Campaign on May 12 and throughout the summer construction period. Construction zones pose a real risk of danger for both workers and road users. Slowing down, paying extra attention, observing the posted signs, following the directions of traffic control personnel, and patience, can save a life.”
Author: Lennea Durant and Megan Johnston