In the last decade, 13 roadside workers were killed and 204 injured
Richmond, B.C. (July 8, 2020) — The annual Cone Zone campaign kicks off in July to improve the safety of people working along the roadside. The campaign urges employers, workers and drivers to do their part to prevent injuries and deaths of roadside workers.
Roadside work is a dangerous job. Last year, one roadside worker died as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle and 19 were injured. Between 2010 and 2019, 13 roadside workers were killed and 204 were injured.
In the campaign’s tenth year, the RCMP Lower Mainland District Integrated Road Safety Unit is partnering with the Work Zone Safety Alliance and WorkSafeBC to raise awareness about the risks workers face while working on or alongside the road.
These risks are very prevalent in the summer months as roadside work across the province increases. Traffic levels are typically high at this time of year, and are expected to be busier this summer as many British Columbians travel within the province due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign reminds drivers to slow down when approaching a Cone Zone and to pay attention to instructions from traffic control persons, temporary road signs and traffic control devices. Every worker deserves to go home safely at the end of their shift.
In addition, under the “Slow Down, Move Over” law, drivers should be prepared to reduce speed and move over to an open lane when driving near a vehicle with flashing amber, red, or blue lights (tow, fire, police, ambulance).
As part of the campaign, a traffic enforcement blitz will occur at roadside work zones. Tickets will be issued for violations, such as speeding, disobeying a flag person, or using an electronic device while driving.
Cone Zones are work areas set up by roadside workers to protect themselves and the driving public. Road-maintenance crews, tow truck operators, first responders, municipal workers, traffic control persons, construction crews and other roadside workers all depend on drivers to respect the Cone Zone to keep their workplaces safe.
Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their workers and contractors along B.C.’s roads and highways, including:
- Ensuring their workers understand the hazards related to working at the roadside.
- Providing their workers with training, equipment, supervision and resources to help keep them safe.
Roadside workers can work safely by:
- Knowing how to identify hazards and assess risks.
- Following safe work procedures, including work zone set-up and take-down.
- Wearing appropriate high-visibility clothing and other PPE.
- Reporting unsafe work conditions to their supervisor.
Major provincial projects scheduled and underway during the 2020 summer include:
- Hwy 91/17 Deltaport Way Project
- Hwy 1 Lower Lynn
- Hwy 4 Kennedy Hill
- Massey Tunnel Project
Harry Bains, Minister of Labour:
“Too often people don’t slow down when they come to a Cone Zone. You must slow down because speeding endangers the lives of those who work in traffic, including first responders, road maintenance workers or tow truck drivers. When you see a Cone Zone, slow down and help ensure those workers can return home to their families and loved ones.”
Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure:
“We’re asking drivers to slow down in the cone zone which will keep both workers and the public safe during the construction season. This summer it is expected a lot more B.C. residents will travel our roads and take advantage of the chance to explore our great province, as we are now into Phase 3. This includes the safe, smart and respectful return of travel and tourism within the province. Please respect the cone zones, slow down, and drive carefully through to keep people safe.”
Al Johnson, Head of Prevention Services, WorkSafeBC:
“We can all do our part to keep roadside workers safe in B.C. The Cone Zone campaign reminds drivers that the most important things they can do are to slow down and pay attention when approaching roadside worksites. Respecting the Cone Zone saves lives.”
- Employers and workers can also access online tools, campaign resources and materials at www.ConeZoneBC.com and www.worksafebc.com/conezone.
- Visit Mitchell’s story, My Dad Works Here, at www.conezonebc.com/videos/mitchells-story-tow-operator-safety
- Visit Christy’s story, My Mom Works Here, at www.conezonebc.com/videos/my-mommy-works-here-christys-story/
For additional statistics, access this infographic on Tableau.