This summer, thousands of British Columbians will work along the province’s roads and highways. Some will work in large construction sites that are in place for days, weeks or even months. Other sites will be small and temporary, in many cases lasting only an hour or two.
No matter the work site size or duration, roadside work is dangerous. In fact, in the 10-year period between 2005 and 2014, 15 workers were killed and another 223 injured as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle while working on or beside the road. Many roadside workers are often only separated from passing traffic by orange cones. That’s not much protection against the impact of a speeding or veering vehicle.
A proper cone zone saves lives
The responsibility for roadside worker safety lies with employers, workers and drivers. In conjunction with this year’s ConeZone awareness campaign aimed at drivers, a suite of new resources is now available for employers and roadside workers.
The resources focus on roadside work that does not exceed one daytime work shift and where certified traffic control persons are not required*. Examples of this type of work could include a landscaper pruning trees on a busy city street, an animal control officer removing wildlife from a rural road or a truck driver changing a flat tire on the shoulder of a highway.
The new tool kit contains five resources:
- High-visibility garments – is for employers, supervisors and workers and describes the various types of high-visibility garments and where and when they must be worn.
- Roadside work preparation checklist – contains a list of items for employers to review with employees before they begin their work. It includes identifying hazards workers will face as well as safe work procedures, documenting a work zone layout, and ensuring that proper traffic control devices such as cones, barriers and signs are available.
- What employers need to know to keep roadside workers safe – outlines the responsibilities employers have to employees who work along the roadside. This includes ensuring that workers understand traffic control arrangements and procedures, that appropriate traffic control devices are in place before start of work and are removed when no longer required, and that all workers involved in traffic control operations are adequately trained. The key principles of a traffic control plan are also outlined including links to sample templates.
- Set up and take down of roadside work zones – is for workers and includes guidance on proper set up and dismantling of work zones. It provides information on planning the layout, the type of equipment required and the order of work.
- Safety at the roadside: what workers need to know - includes a safety checklist, understanding the hazards of the specific worksite and how they might change over a day and safety reminders.
Check out the tool kit and let others know about it. Roadside injuries and deaths are preventable. Do your part.
1 Source: WorkSafeBC. Number of claims where workers missed time from work.
*The Traffic Control Manual for Work on Roadways in British Columbia sets out the general principles for controlling traffic around road side work sites for both short and long duration work and defines the circumstances under which certified traffic control people are required.