By: The Working Forest Staff
Richmond, B.C. — 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.
In 2018, two roadside workers died as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle and another 29 were injured. Between 2009 and 2018, 13 roadside workers were killed and 213 were injured under similar circumstances.
The B.C. Cone Zone Campaign, now in its ninth year, sets out to remind employers, workers, and drivers, to obey the law when approaching a cone zone, to prevent deaths and injuries to roadside workers in B.C.
The campaign will include an enforcement blitz at worksites in the Lower Mainland for members of the driving public. Tickets to drivers can range from $196 for disobeying a flag person to $368 for using an electronic device while driving. The social and economic costs resulting from a loss of life or serious injury are much higher.
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 and other roadside workers all depend on drivers to respect the cone zone to keep their workplaces safe.
The B.C. Cone Zone Campaign coincides with the increase in roadside work throughout the province in the spring and summer. As construction activity increases in the busy spring and summer construction months, drivers need to slow down when driving through a cone zone and pay attention to instructions from traffic control persons, temporary road signs and traffic control devices: Stay focused on the road and leave the phone alone. In addition, under the “Slow Down, Move Over” legislation, 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.
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 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
- Following set-up and take-down regulations
- Wearing appropriate high-visibility clothing
- Reporting unsafe work conditions to their supervisor
Major provincial projects scheduled and underway during the 2019 spring and summer include:
- Highway 7: Widening in Mission
- Highway 4: Kennedy Hill – Between Port Alberni and the West Coast of Vancouver Island
- Highway 1: Lower Lynn phases 2 and 4 – Keith Rd. /Seymour Parkway I/C, Lynn Creek Connectivity Improvements
- Highway 5: Carolin Creek Bridge Deck Rehab – Between Hope and the Coquihalla Summit
- Highway 7: Haney Bypass – Maple Ridge
There will also be more than 30 kilometres of upgrades in the City of Vancouver’s network, including 13 km of water and sewer main work.
For additional statistics, visit our tableau infographic.
Quotes about the Cone Zone Campaign:
“Sadly, just 10 days ago in Kamloops there was yet another incident of a flag person being struck and injured by a vehicle whose driver ignored her signals. The Cone Zone campaign is a timely reminder to all drivers: while a flagger may wear a safety vest instead of a police badge, their direction is not a suggestion – it’s the law. And their lives are on the line,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour.
“People working in construction zones are in a vulnerable position, and it’s important for drivers to slow down and use caution when traveling through work areas. Safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“Worker safety is a shared responsibility: employers, workers, and drivers all need to do their part to prevent deaths and injuries of roadside workers in B.C. The Cone Zone campaign reminds drivers that the most important things they can do to keep roadside workers safe are slow down and pay attention to instructions from traffic control persons, temporary road signs and traffic control devices,” said Dale Walker, vice president, Employer, Industry & Worker Services, WorkSafeBC.
About the Cone Zone Campaign
The Cone Zone campaign runs from May to August each year. This campaign, supported by the Work Zone Safety Alliance, aims to reduce the number of deaths and injuries to roadside workers by increasing awareness of the vulnerability of these workers and encouraging drivers to practice safe driving behaviour in the Cone Zone.
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 Ambulance Paramedics of B.C., Automotive Retailers Association, BCAA, B.C. Construction Safety Alliance, B.C. Flagging Association, B.C. Landscape and Nursery Association, B.C. Municipal Safety Association, B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, City of Prince George, City of Surrey, Government of B.C., International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 258, Insurance Corporation of B.C., Justice Institute of British Columbia, LiUNA Local 1611, RCMP, SafetyDriven, Telus, Lower Mainland police and WorkSafeBC.
About Road Safety at Work
Road Safety at Work is a WorkSafeBC-funded initiative managed by the Justice Institute of BC aimed at eliminating work-related motor vehicle crashes, deaths, and injuries in British Columbia. Road Safety At Work offers free online resources and courses — as well as workshops, webinars and consulting services — to help organizations plan, implement and monitor effective road safety programs.