News Release: RCMP, TELUS, Work Zone Safety Alliance partner to support roadside worker safety in Williams Lake

Over the last 10 years, 12 roadside workers died and 207 were injured in B.C.

(September 14, 2021) BC Highway Patrol (Williams Lake, Quesnel, and 100 Mile House) is partnering with TELUS and the Work Zone Safety Alliance to raise awareness about the risks workers face while working on or alongside the road in Williams Lake.

RCMP will conduct a traffic enforcement at a worksite in the area. It’s part of the B.C. Cone Zone Campaign, now in its 11th year. The campaign reminds employers, workers, and drivers to do their part to prevent deaths and injuries to roadside workers. TELUS workers have been injured in Williams Lake, including a fatality last year.

RCMP will ticket drivers for unsafe behaviours. Tickets can range from $196 for disobeying a flag person to $368 for using an electronic device while driving to $483 for speeding.

The social and economic costs resulting from a loss of life or serious injury are much higher. Between 2011 and 2020 in B.C., 12 roadside workers were killed and 207 were injured resulting in time loss. Last year, 23 workers were injured because of being hit by a motor vehicle.


Event Information for Media Coverage

RCMP enforcement blitz around a Cone Zone in Williams Lake
Tuesday, September 14, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Location: 634 Dog Creek Road
(LOCATION EMBARGOED UNTIL 11 a.m. September 14)

Phone Interviews

  • Cone Zone: Campaign spokesperson Louise Yako, 604-513-9666, louise.yako@roadsafetyatwork.ca
  • TELUS: Steven Scuor, Senior Safety Consultant, People & Culture, 604-803-6555

Photo/video opportunities

  • Traffic around a Cone Zone, RCMP officers monitoring traffic

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, traffic control persons, construction crews, and other roadside workers all depend on drivers to respect the Cone Zone to keep their workplaces safe.

As traffic in Williams Lake picks up during the re-opening of schools, the B.C. Cone Zone campaign reminds drivers 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. Drivers need to stay focused on the road and leave their phone alone.

In addition, under B.C.’s “Slow Down, Move Over” legislation, drivers should be prepared to reduce speed and, if safe to do so, move over to an open lane when approaching a vehicle with flashing amber, red or blue lights (tow, fire, police).

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 workers understand the hazards related to working at the roadside.
  • Providing workers with training, equipment, supervision 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, including work zone set-up and take-down.
  • Wearing appropriate high-visibility clothing and other PPE.
  • Reporting unsafe work conditions to their supervisor.

Employers and workers can access online tools and resources at ConeZoneBC.com.

Quotes:

Harry Bains, Minister of Labour:

“It’s important that workers are safe on the job, and in fact it’s their lawful right. In addition to the hazards of roadwork, flaggers and other people who work in Cone Zones face additional risks from passing vehicles. I ask all drivers to do their part and slow down so these workers remain safe and return home healthy at the end of their shifts.”

Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure:

“We’re reminding drivers to slow down and drive with care. Using caution while passing through a job site will help keep our traffic controllers and construction workers safe while they do their job. Campaigns like this are great reminders to respect the Cone Zone, for everyone’s safety.” 

Louise Yako, Program Director Road Safety at Work:

“One of the greatest risks to a roadside worker is a motor vehicle being driven through their workplace. Dangerous driving behaviour like speeding and distracted driving puts these workers at risk of injury and death.”

“The Cone Zone campaign is a joint provincial initiative supported by the Work Zone Safety Alliance of organizations committed to improving the safety of roadside workers. Until the number of fatalities and injuries is zero, we will continue to take action to protect roadside workers. We ask all drivers, and roadside employers and workers to do the same.”

Al Johnson, Head of Prevention Services at WorkSafeBC:

“Roadside work is a dangerous job. Drivers must remember to reduce their speed, pay attention, and be respectful of the roadside workers and their workplace, so these women and men can go home safely to their families at the end of the day.”

Steven Scuor, Senior Safety Consultant, People & Culture at TELUS:

“As a communications and information technology company, we have roadside workers on the job across the province. Our crews are often responding to emergency outages caused by weather events, theft or motor vehicle accidents, and in order to restore service as soon as possible for our customers, we aren’t always able to coordinate with Traffic Control Persons. This makes Cone Zones incredibly important to the safety of our crews, and ensures they return home to their loved ones at the end of their shift without injury. That is always our first priority – the safety of our people as they work diligently around the clock to keep our customers connected.”

About the Cone Zone Campaign

The Cone Zone campaign is supported by the Work Zone Safety Alliance and managed by Road Safety at Work. It 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, BC Construction Safety Alliance, BC Flagging Association, BC Hydro, BC Landscape and Nursery Association, BC Municipal Safety Association, BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, BC Road Safe, Corecode Safety and Compliance, Government of BC, IBEW Local 258, Insurance Corporation of BC, K&K Consulting, Justice Institute of British Columbia, K&K Consulting, LiUNA Local 1611, Mainroad Group, Metro Traffic Management, RCMP, Road Safety at Work, SafetyDriven, TELUS, The Universal Group, Vancouver Island Construction Association 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.

Media contact:

Anita Deiter, Cone Zone Campaign Manager
Tel: 604-786-9566
anita.deiter@roadsafetyatwork.ca

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News Release: RCMP, TELUS, Work Zone Safety Alliance partner to support roadside worker safety in Williams Lake