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13 roadside workers killed in B.C. over past decade

Cone Zone campaign aims to increase awareness of risks
| www.cos-mag.com
Tickets to drivers can range from $196 for disobeying a flag person Photo courtesy WorkSafeBC

In 2018, two roadside workers died as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle and another 29 were injured in British Columbia. Between 2009 and 2018, 13 roadside workers were killed and 213 were injured under similar circumstances.

To address this issue, the RCMP, Work Zone Safety Alliance and WorkSafeBC are partnering to raise awareness about the risks road workers face during the ninth annual Cone Zone campaign.

“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,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena.

The campaign reminds employers, workers and drivers to obey the law when approaching an area that is zoned-off for road work. Slowing down and paying attention to signage and instructions from traffic control persons in these areas can prevent deaths and injuries to roadside workers. 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, said WorkSafeBC.

The campaign will include an enforcement blitz at work sites in the Lower Mainland 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.

“Sadly, just (a few) days ago in Kamloops there was yet another incident of a flag person being struck and injured by a vehicle whose driver ignored her signals,” said Minister of Labour Harry Bains. “The Cone Zone campaign is a timely reminder to all drivers: while a flagger may wear a safety vest instead of a police badge, their direction is not a suggestion, it’s the law. And their lives are on the line.”

The Cone Zone campaign runs from May to August each year.

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