Roadside workers in Parksville Qualicum Beach and around the province routinely face the risk of injury – but especially during summer months and holidays when more vehicles are on the road.
“Driving too fast and not paying attention in a Cone Zone puts roadside workers at risk,” said Trace Acres, spokesperson for the Cone Zone safety awareness campaign, in a news release. “Orange cones are often the only thing separating their workspace from your vehicle.”
Tens of thousands of British Columbians work at the roadside in Cone Zones, which are most often associated with bright orange cones. Each zone has its own unique set of hazards associated with roads, traffic, vehicles, weather and work activities.
“It only takes a second for something to happen,” said Michelle Bush, a sign person for Mainroad Mid Island Contracting. “You don’t have enough time to say anything except ‘look out.’ Please slow down. My family loves to see me each night.”
WorkSafeBC statistics show two roadside workers in the province were killed last year and 31 were injured seriously enough to miss work after being hit by a vehicle. Over the last decade, 12 roadside workers lost their lives and 221 missed time from work due to injury.
“It’s more than road construction and maintenance crews, and traffic control persons,” says Acres. “We’re also talking about landscapers, municipal workers, tow truck operators, utility workers, movers and delivery van drivers. Also watch for flashing lights and slow down when you see emergency and enforcement personnel.”
The annual Cone Zone campaign aims to raise awareness about the safety risk and reminds employers, workers, and drivers to each do their part to prevent deaths and injuries.
Drivers approaching a Cone Zone need to:
• Slow down and avoid distractions like a phone;
• Pay attention to temporary road signs, traffic cones and directions given by a traffic control person;
• Comply with B.C.’s Slow Down, Move Over law, which requires drivers to slow down and move over to the left lane when safe to do so for any vehicle flashing a red, blue or amber light. This includes tow trucks, utility vehicles, garbage trucks and emergency response vehicles.
Typical penalties for unsafe driving in a Cone Zone include a $368 fine for using a phone and minimum $196 for speeding.
— NEWS Staff, submitted