BURNABY, BC, Aug. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - With summer more than half over, the Work Zone Safety Alliance (including WorkSafeBC, BCAA Road Safety Foundation, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and 18 other partners across British Columbia) is reminding drivers to slow down and pay attention when driving through a "Cone Zone".
According to a 2011 driver survey conducted by the Alliance, most Metro Vancouver drivers reported being mindful and slowing down when approaching roadside workers. While this is a positive outcome, roadside workers often talk about "near misses" by speeding and distracted drivers in their workplace.
Pat Miller, an Equipment Operator C for Mainroad Lower Mainland Contracting experiences "near miss" encounters with drivers on his job sites daily.
Last spring, Miller was doing road repair on Highway 1 when a five-ton delivery truck hit the crew's one ton buffer truck parked on the shoulder inside the Cone Zone. The delivery truck just missed Pat who dove into a ditch at the last second.
Even with all safety measures in place, warning signage, cones and vehicle lights flashing, Pat and the crew still experienced a near miss. The driver of the delivery truck was distracted and had closed his eyes for a moment.
"No road maintenance crew can control everything that happens outside of their work zone," stated Miller. "We see a lot of distracted drivers on the road. We see more texting than talking with the driver's eyes focused on the phone and not the road. Even at the scene of an accident, we see people taking video or pictures when they should be paying attention to the road."
Road repair and construction are just one sector of roadside workers. Municipal workers, landscapers, tow-truck drivers, telecommunications and utility workers, and emergency and enforcement personnel all work in "Cone Zones".
Over the past ten years, WorkSafeBC has received 386 claims made by roadside workers that were struck by motor vehicles. Of the claims, 46 per cent were classified as serious injuries and 3 per cent resulted in the death of the worker. The number of unreported "near miss" incidents are much higher and cause undue stress in the workplace.
"Workers cannot defend themselves against distracted or inattentive drivers," reminds Mark Ordeman, WorkSafeBC manager for Transportation. "When entering a Cone Zone, we simply want motorists to slow down, pay attention and be respectful - it will save their life and the lives of the workers."
For more information visit ConeZoneBC.com.
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The "Cone Zone" message expands beyond the messages of two other initiatives — WorkSafeBC's "Slow Down" signage campaign aimed at large construction projects, and the provincial government legislation that requires drivers to "slow down and move over" when approaching emergency vehicles stopped at the side of the road — to encompass all roadside workers.
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 BCAA Road Safety Foundation, BC Ambulance Service, 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, 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 2.3 million workers and more than 210,000 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.
Image with caption: "Work Zone Safety Alliance "Cone Zone" campaign encourages drivers to slow down, pay attention and be respectful to keep roadside workers safe. (CNW Group/British Columbia Automobile Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120827_C9805_PHOTO_EN_17241.jpg
SOURCE: British Columbia Automobile Association
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