English roads are some of the busiest roads in the world. They are also some of the safest. In terms of overall road safety, the current national figures show that victims are at their lowest level for more than 40 years. Despite this promise, overall injuries to 4,000 road workers on British roads have increased.
In the current traffic conditions, an active carriageway on any highway is a very dangerous place to work. An Oxford University study places it as the 16th most dangerous job in the UK. During 2005, the Highways Term Maintenance Association stated there had been 5 deaths and 12 serious injuries – more than double the figure of deaths from the previous five years. And all casualties were caused by workers who were hit by a speeding vehicle.
Between 2003 and 2008, 11 road workers were killed and 104 seriously injured on highways and major routes in the UK.
Since the launch of HTMA in April 2005, one problem has dominated the road maintenance sector – safety. They are dedicated to reducing road worker accidents.
HTMA has long-term goals to make the work environment safer including:
- Design for maintenance / operation, which has the added benefit of a lifetime cost savings, less intervention and less congestion
- Reducing road workers’ exposure to direct traffic and reducing risks to road workers while on the network. For more information about reflective Chevron Kits, visit vehiclechevrons.com
- Highlight the importance of road workers and their safety to the public by raising awareness throughout the industry
- Increase road user awareness and behaviour by increasing driver education
Road Worker Violations
The workplace of road workers is one of the most dangerous and vulnerable places. The types of activities carried out by our contractors include:
- Salting and snow removal during winter
- Emergency repairs after accidents and incidents
- Maintaining the condition of fences, obstacles and road markings
- Overlay and repair to the road surface
- Build new trains
- Cutting grass at the intersection and central reservation
- Clean the drainage system
- Cleaning trash
- Replacing bulbs on street lights
Not only are driving vehicles pose a threat to road workers, but driver behaviour in passing vehicles is an increasing problem. Harassment of road workers must not be ignored, and HTMA continues to work hard to raise awareness about road maintenance work carried out by workers, to change people’s perceptions and behaviour towards them.
A survey found:
- 80% of road workers have been physically or verbally abused by motorists
- 40% of workers are abused either daily or weekly
Road workers often experience: throwing missiles (often food and bottles), verbal harassment and personal injury caused by road users’ vehicles. But one of the most disturbing factors is the speed at which cars pass road works, ending in crashes and collisions. They will often ignore temporary speed limits, making workers more vulnerable with very little to keep them safe from oncoming vehicles. Ongoing campaigns are vital in highlighting the many risks faced by road workers and remind drivers to be careful and vigilant when driving through roadworks.