Friday, August 9, 2013
On the Road
The Need to Heed
Over 800 cone zones on BC roads this summer
Released by Lennae Durant, Cone Zone Campaign
rivers in the Metro Vancouver area and throughout British Columbia will see an increase in the number of roadside workers over the summer months working in the “Cone Zone”.
“There are tens of thousands of roadside workers in B.C.,” stated Mark Ordeman, WorkSafeBC Industry and Labour Services Manager. “The message we want to get to drivers is that they need to slow down, pay attention, and to be respectful when driving through these Cone Zones.”
With over 800 work zones or “roadside offices” set up in municipalities and highways throughout the province, drivers are reminded to slow down and drive with care in the “Cone Zone”. And while most roadside work, like these more than 800 work zones, is scheduled in advance, there are instances when unforeseen work needs to be done and a “Cone Zone” is set up without prior notice.
“The ‘Cone Zone’ campaign is about making the roads safe for everyone – workers and drivers,” stated Mark Ordeman, WorkSafeBC Industry and Labour Services Manager. “Between 2003 and 2012, twenty-one roadside workers were killed in motor vehicle incidents in B.C. When someone is killed or seriously injured, that has a devastating effect on families, workplaces and the community.”
Drivers will encounter “Cone Zones” for road construction and road maintenance, but “Cone Zones” are also the work places for landscapers, municipal workers, linesmen and others who work behind those orange cones, signage, and/or other traffic control devices to plant trees on boulevards, cut tall grass at the roadside, or repair communication lines and drainage infrastructure.
“When a vehicle enters the Cone Zone and hits a roadside worker the resulting injuries can be very serious, and in some cases are fatal,” says Mark Ordeman, WorkSafeBC Industry and Labour Services Manager. “These injuries shouldn’t be happening. Roadside workers have the right to a safe workplace just like every other worker in this province.”
Drivers can reduce the likelihood of a delay by avoiding work zones or allowing for more driving time.
Here are some ways to make sure that both you and roadside workers stay safe this summer:
Check for traffic delays before you leave
Give yourself more time for your commute and take a different route if possible.
When entering a Cone Zone, slow down to posted speed limits and pay attention.
Follow sign and flag directions. Be respectful of roadside workers.
• Between 2003 and 2012 WorkSafeBC received 396 injury claims from people employed in B.C. that work at the roadside. Of these 192 were serious injuries, 21 resulted in a death.
• It is estimated that there could be as many as 20-30 near miss incidents every day in B.C.
• There are tens of thousands of roadside workers in B.C.
Even with safety measures in place, injuries and near misses experienced by roadside workers in B.C. are a reality. On a daily basis, roadside workers continue to be at risk of being seriously or fatally injured by distracted, aggressive or speeding drivers. Watch their stories at www.ConeZoneBC.com.
The “Cone Zone” campaign is an annual driver awareness initiative aimed at increasing public awareness about the dangers faced by roadside workers and telling drivers to slow down and pay attention when driving through a “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 the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Shaw Communications Inc., Ambulance Paramedics of BC, BC Construction Safety Alliance, BC Flagging Association, BC Hydro, BC Landscape and Nursery Association, BC Municipal Safety Association, B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, FortisBC, IBEW258, ICBC, BCAA, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, RDM Enterprises, Actsafe, Telus, The Community Against Preventable Injuries, Automotive Retailers Association, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, Lower Mainland police, and 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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