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May 15, 2018

Vancouver Police Department increases enforcement in support of roadside worker safety

One roadside worker died as a result of being hit by a vehicle in 2017
    
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The Vancouver Police Department has partnered with the Work Zone Safety Alliance and WorkSafeBC, as of May 14, to launch the eighth annual B.C. Cone Zone Campaign, with an enforcement blitz.

"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," said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena.

Last year in British Columbia, one roadside worker died as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle, and 25 were injured. Between 2008 and 2017, there were a total of 12 roadside worker deaths and 218 injuries as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle. Of all those roadside workers injured, 42 per cent were traffic control persons, 14 per cent were truck drivers and 10 per cent were public services/construction labourers.

Roadside and emergency workers set up roadside work zones to protect themselves and the driving public. This is done with the aid of flashing lights, cones, and sometimes, even vehicles are used to alert drivers to route changes, blocked lanes and the presence of workers. 

"The driving public must also be vigilant when they come across vehicles with flashing lights," said WorkSafeBC's manager of industry and labour services Mark Ordeman. "If drivers see flashing blue, red or yellow lights they must slow down and move over to avoid harming workers such as first responders, tow-truck operators, and maintenance and utility crews."

Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their workers and are required to train and supervise their workers.

Roadside workers can work safely by: knowing how to identify hazards and assess risks, following safe-work procedures, following set-up and take-down regulations, wearing appropriate high-visibility garments and reporting unsafe work conditions to their supervisor.

Workers in occupations that are in close proximity to traffic are at risk. These jobs include: ferry workers directing traffic, road-maintenance crews, telecommunications and utility workers, security guards, municipal workers and machine operators, first responders and tow-truck operators.

"B.C.’s roadside workers do important work improving and repairing infrastructure we all rely on and they deserve a safe work environment. I urge all drivers to be mindful of the hardworking people on our roads by slowing down and driving safely through any and all work zones," said Harry Bains, minister of labour. 

    
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