News Release: RCMP steps up traffic enforcement in the Fraser Valley to support roadside-worker safety

Over the last 10 years, 13 roadside workers died and 213 were injured in B.C.

Richmond, B.C. (May 29, 2019) — 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.

The campaign will include an enforcement blitz at a worksite in the Fraser Valley 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.

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. This is the first year that the Cone Zone campaign has been in Abbotsford.

Event Information

  • Date:            Friday, May 31, 2019
  • Time:            9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Location:     Intersection of Mt. Lehman Road and Marshall Road, Abbotsford, B.C. (4-Laning project to the Abbotsford Airport)

Representatives from the RCMP Lower Mainland Traffic Services will be on site and available for interviews.

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

For additional statistics, visit our tableau infographic.

Employers and workers can also access online tools and resources at https://www.ConeZoneBC.com and www.worksafebc.com/conezone.

Quotes about the Cone Zone Campaign:

Harry Bains, Minister of Labour:

“The Cone Zone campaign is a great reminder to use caution when driving in a construction area. Flaggers play a vital role, not only by ensuring the project continues, but also by protecting everyone involved – workers and vehicle occupants alike; while keeping traffic flowing. All they ask in return is patience and understanding from drivers, so that everyone is safe at the end of the day.”

Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure:

“People working in construction zones are in a vulnerable position, and it’s important for drivers to slow down and use caution when travelling through work areas. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Dale Walker, Vice-President, Employer, Industry & Worker Services, WorkSafeBC: “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.”

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 practise 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.

About WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC partners with workers and employers to prevent injury, disease, and disability in B.C. When work-related injuries or diseases occur, WorkSafeBC provides compensation and support to people in their recovery, rehabilitation, and safe return to work. We serve approximately 2.4 million workers and 245,000 employers across B.C.

Media contacts:

Erica Simpson
Media Relations – WorkSafeBC
Cell: 778.874.0281
Erica.simpson@worksafebc.com

Valder Belgrave
Media Relations - Road Safety at Work
Cell: 604.861.9774
valder.belgrave@roadsafetyatwork.ca

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News Release: RCMP steps up traffic enforcement in the Fraser Valley to support roadside-worker safety