For roadside workers

If you work along the road and close to traffic for any reason, you’re a roadside worker. And you’ve got a dangerous, high-risk job, whether you’re in a roadside work zone for 5 minutes or an entire shift. Use our resources to help keep yourself safe before, during, and after working at the roadside.

Your rights and responsibilities

You may not think of yourself as a roadside worker. But you are one when you do any type of work along the road as part of your job. Hundreds of activities involve roadside work, whether it’s full time, part time, or only occasionally.

Road construction crews, tow operators, movers, waste collectors, and landscapers spend many hours on the side of the road. First responders enforce traffic laws and provide life-saving emergency services. Truck drivers may pull over to adjust a load or make a repair. They’re all roadside workers.

Whatever your work is, doing it near vehicles or mobile equipment puts you and your coworkers at high risk of being struck. You, your employer, and your supervisor have responsibilities for your safety in roadside work zones.

Employer/supervisor responsibilities
Your safety responsibilities

Keep learning

Learn more about employer, supervisor, and worker safety responsibilities in the workplace.

Test your knowledge of work zone safety with our Roadside Worker Safety Quiz.

If you’re interested in becoming a TCP, learn more about traffic control person training.

Work zone hazards

Everyone in a work zone is at risk of being struck by traffic or mobile equipment. Over the last decade in BC, 9 workers were killed in work zones and 239 were injured seriously enough to be off work.

Every roadside work zone is unique. Although some work zone hazards are similar from site to site, some are quite different. And hazards can change very quickly or gradually over the course of your shift.

Being aware of potential hazards and how they can change is essential for ensuring your safety, and the safety of others in your work zone. Here are some of the many hazards you need to understand:


What roadside workers need to know

Staying safe in a work zone requires you to be prepared. Follow safe work procedures wherever you do your job.

Following these basic steps will help you, your co-workers, and drivers reduce risks in a roadside work zone.

Before heading to the work zone
Working when the site isn’t known in advance
Setting up the work zone
Working in the zone
Work zone communication
Operating vehicles or equipment in a work zone
Tearing down the work zone

If there’s a work zone layout and traffic control plan, be sure you understand and follow the requirements. Ask your supervisor if you have any questions.

For traffic control persons

Being in harm’s way is not part of your job. In fact, occupational health and safety regulations prohibit the use of traffic control persons (TCP) in certain situations, such as when speed limits are greater than 70 km/h.

Your position in the work zone helps to protect you from being struck by vehicles moving past or through the job site. Follow the regulatory requirements at all times. If you’re unsure about where to stand, ask your supervisor. Don’t get in front of any vehicle.

Your training, knowledge, and experience are invaluable when planning work zone layouts. Share your ideas with your employer and supervisor and report any safety concerns to them immediately.

Put away your phone so you’re not distracted.

For truck and van drivers

All of your roadside stops or work require a risk evaluation.

If your work is planned (like a scheduled move or pickup/delivery in a known location), the risk assessment needs to be conducted in advance. This tells you the appropriate traffic control devices you’ll need or whether a formal traffic control plan will be required.

In the case of unplanned work such as a vehicle breakdown or a stop to adjust a load, you need to do a risk assessment before exiting your vehicle. The level of risk determines the measures you need to put in place to create a safe work zone around your vehicle and carry out your work safely.

Review Section 6.10 of the 2020 Traffic Management Manual for Work on Roadways and our What Truck and Van Drivers Need to Know to Be Safe at the Roadside guide (PDF 516 KB) for more information.

For emergency workers

Make sure you understand and follow Part 18.6.1 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. It covers emergency scene management.

The BC Municipal Safety Association offers an Emergency Scene Traffic Control course for fire departments.

High-visibility apparel

When you’re exposed to the hazard of moving vehicles or mobile equipment, you need to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including high-visibility garments.

It’s your employer’s responsibility to provide them and train you to use them properly. It’s also your employer’s responsibility to ensure you’re using the correct ones for the work zone you’ll be in and to meet safety regulations.

Worker responsibilities for wearing PPE include keeping it clean and well-maintained. Tell your supervisor if your garment is worn or damaged. Dirty or worn fluorescent or retro-reflective materials compromise the level of visibility.

Make sure your high-visibility garment is correctly fastened, with no hanging parts. It should be fitted to your body and appropriate for the environmental conditions. Clothing worn underneath to help keep you warm or dry can affect the fit.



Roadside Worker Safety Quiz

Do you work full time, part time, or just occasionally at the roadside? If so, you need to know about hazards and safe work procedures. Take our 5-question quiz to test your knowledge.

What Truck and Van Drivers Need to Know to be Safe at the Roadside

All roadside stops require a risk assessment. Truck, delivery, and moving van drivers can use this guide to follow the different requirements for emergent work, brief duration work, and long duration work.

Safety at the Roadside: What Workers Need to Know

Roadside workers need to be aware of hazards in their work zones. Review this guide’s tips and checklist to understand the different types of hazards and reduce your risk.

Roadside Work Preparation Guide

Use this guide to make your plan for a roadside work zone. It includes tips for preparing your crew, a list of possible hazards, and a form you can fill out to help assess the hazards and reduce the risks.

Roadside Work Preparation Checklist

Safety begins before workers get to a roadside zone. Review this checklist with them to help ensure they are prepared, even if they don’t know in advance where the zone will be.
Tailgate Meeting Guide

Set Up and Take Down of Roadside Work Zones

Setting up and taking down a Cone Zone can be one of the most dangerous parts of roadside work. Use this guide to help keep you and your co-workers safe.