As recent domestic travel restrictions lift and the summer sets in, roads across BC will be receiving more traffic than usual.
The 11th annual ‘Cone Zone’ awareness campaign kicks off this year, as it tries to bring more attention to workers on the road. In order to protect roadside workers, drivers are asked to slow down, pay attention to signs, directions given, and traffic cones.
Louise Yako, program director for Road Safety at Work (RSAW), states that busier roads mean an increased risk for roadside workers on the coast.
“Roadside work is a dangerous job,” says Yako. “With regional travel restrictions lifted and more activity on roads, we all need to do our part when driving to make sure roadside workers make it home to their family at the end of their shift without injury.”
The awareness campaign was set up to encourage people to practice safe driving behavior, as ‘Cone Zones’ are set up to ‘help protect workers and drivers from injury or death.’
“One of the greatest risks to a roadside worker from Nanaimo through the Sunshine Coast is a motor vehicle being driven through their workplace,” says Yako. “Dangerous behaviour like speeding and distracted driving puts workers at risk— and drivers too.”
Roadside work can be a variety of things, including ‘municipal workers, landscapers, flag people, tow truck drivers, road maintenance crews, telecommunications and utility workers, and emergency and enforcement personnel.’
“Anyone who works alongside or on roads in close proximity to traffic is considered a roadside worker,” says Yako, “and each one of them is someone’s parent, friend, neighbour, and work colleague.”
Violations in ‘Cone Zones’ can be ‘costly’, according to RSAW. Using a phone or electronic device while driving can cost a driver $368, while speeding and disobeying a ‘flag person’ can cost a driver $196 (or up). Disobeying a traffic control device can cost $121.
RSAW states that ‘the construction and transportation sectors have the greatest percentage of roadside incidents in B.C., according to WorkSafeBC statistics for 2011-2020,’ and in that same time period, 12 roadside workers were killed and 207 were injured because of roadside incidents.
The awareness campaign will be running until the end of August.