How would you cope if vehicles drove within a few feet of your workstation?
It’s a daily peril for many Vancouver Island residents. They’re roadside workers who do their jobs while traffic flows around them. Every shift, they face the risk of being injured or killed. More vehicles on the road during the summer and around holiday weekends increase the risk.
“Working around traffic is dangerous,” said Trace Acres, spokesperson for the annual Cone Zone safety awareness campaign. “Cone Zones are there to protect and save lives.”
Tens of thousands of British Columbians work at the roadside in Cone Zones, which are most often associated with bright orange cones. Each zone has its own unique set of hazards associated with roads, traffic, vehicles, weather, and work activities.
“Driving too fast and not paying attention in a Cone Zone puts roadside workers at risk,” Acres said. “Orange cones are often the only thing separating their workspace from your vehicle.”
WorkSafeBC statistics show two roadside workers in the province were killed last year, and 31 were injured seriously enough to miss work after being hit by a vehicle. Over the last decade, 12 roadside workers lost their lives and 221 missed time from work due to injury.
The annual Cone Zone campaign aims to raise awareness about the safety risk, and reminds employers, workers, and drivers to each do their part to prevent deaths and injuries. They can find resources at ConeZoneBC.com.
Drivers approaching a Cone Zone need to:
• Slow down and avoid distractions like a phone.
• Pay attention to temporary road signs, traffic cones, and directions given by a traffic control person
• Comply with B.C.’s Slow Down, Move Over law, which requires drivers to slow down and move over to the left lane when safe to do so for any vehicle flashing a red, blue, or amber light.
• Typical penalties for unsafe driving in a Cone Zone include a $368 fine for using a phone and at least $196 for speeding.
In its 12th year, the Cone Zone campaign is a provincial initiative supported by the Work Zone Safety Alliance and managed by Road Safety at Work.