Roadside workers speak out about the dangers of working in the “Cone Zone”

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Richmond, B.C. / July 7, 2014 – In B.C., tens of thousands of men and women work on or near roadways and they each have a story to tell about the dangers they face working in the “Cone Zone”. You can hear some of their stories on the ConeZoneBC and TranBC websites.

Between 2004 and 2013, 15 workers died and another 224 were injured and missed time from work because of roadside vehicle incidents.

The Work Zone Safety Alliance, WorkSafeBC and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are sharing some of these stories to shed light on the serious risk that traffic travelling through “Cone Zones” can pose to roadside workers.

“Cone Zones” are set up for different types of roadside work including landscaping, utility maintenance, telecommunication installation, transportation, and road construction and maintenance.

Here are some tips to keep drivers and roadside workers safe:

Before you head out:

  • Check for traffic delays before you leave
    • o   DriveBC.ca – Provides real time information on current road and travel conditions
    • o   Listen to your local radio station traffic report
    • o   Visit your municipal website for work zone locations
  • Plan a different route if possible or allow more time for your commute

If your route takes you through a “Cone Zone”:

  • Slow down
  • 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

Quotes:

WorkSafeBC Industry and Labour Services Manager, Mark Ordeman –

“On average 24 workers are struck by motor vehicles each year on or at the side of BC roads. One of those workers will die. They are flaggers, emergency response personnel, landscapers, and transport drivers and they have the right to a safe workplace. As part of the Cone Zone campaign this year, they are telling their stories to remind drivers why it’s important to slow down, pay attention and be respectful.”

Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, Shirley Bond –

“We need to keep workers safe on highways and roads across the province. So as we enter the busy summer driving season, when you are travelling, please take the time to plan ahead, slow down and pay attention while being respectful of roadside workers. Every worker in our province deserves to get home safely at the end of their shift.”

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone –

“Safety is our number one priority, and we take the issue of safety for the province’s roadside workers and traffic control personnel very seriously. We appreciate the jobs that these men and women do – and we want to ensure their safety on the job. If you are a motorist please remember to check DriveBC for information on road conditions and construction activities before you leave your house, and when you spot a Cone Zone, slow down and use caution.”

Winvan Paving Traffic Control Supervisor, Brenda Knight –

“Work zones are full of surprises! Although road crews set up all the required signs and cones, with the movement of equipment, machinery and materials close to travel lanes, the unexpected can and does happen. That’s why it’s so important that motorists proceed slowly and cautiously through work zones, alert to the guidance provided by traffic control people. The traffic control people are there to ensure your safety; please help to ensure theirs.” 

About the Work Zone Safety Alliance:

The Cone Zone campaign is a joint provincial initiative supported by organizations committed to improving the safety of roadside workers. They are Actsafe, Ambulance Paramedics of BC, Automotive Retailers Association, BC Construction Safety Alliance, BC Flagging Association, BC Hydro, BC Landscape and Nursery Association, BC Municipal Safety Association, BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, City of Prince George, City of Surrey, IBEW258, Insurance Corporation of BC, Justice Institute of British Columbia, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, RoadSafetyBC, RCMP, SafetyDriven, Shaw Communications Inc., Telus, The Community Against Preventable Injuries, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, Vancouver Police Department and WorkSafeBC.

About WorkSafeBC:

WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a board of directors that serves about 2.2 million workers and more than 215,000 employers. WorkSafeBC was born from the historic compromise between B.C.’s workers and employers in 1917 where workers gave up the right to sue their employers and fellow workers for injuries on the job in return for a no-fault insurance program fully paid for by employers. WorkSafeBC is committed to safe and healthy workplaces and to providing return-to-work rehabilitation and legislated compensation benefits.

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For further information or photos please contact:

Lennea Durant
Media Relations
Road Safety at Work
Tel: 604-875-1182
lennea.durant@roadsafetyatwork.ca

Trish Knight Chernecki
Sr. Manager Government & Media Relations
WorkSafeBC
Tel: 604-232-5814
trish.chernecki@worksafebc.com

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