Highways Agency launches worker safety campaign
The Highways Agency has launched a campaign to protect road workers across England
The Highways Agency has launched a nationwide campaign to promote the safety of England’s road workers.
These ‘unsung heroes’ operate across the country’s motorways and trunk roads to help maintain the network.
During 2005, five workers were killed and 12 seriously injured in the course of their work on roads across England – the worst year for five years, while for the first six months of 2006, there was one fatality and nine serious injuries.
New figures reveal that road workers reported 116 near misses on motorways and trunk roads in Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester in the first six months of 2006 – up from 113 in the whole of 2005.
In addition, workers reported 235 incidents on motorways and trunk roads in the Cumbria and north Lancashire region over the past year.
"To reduce the accident toll, all road users are urged to drive with care and consideration and in particular to slow down near road works, keep within the signed speed limits and pay attention to road signs and works traffic. Speed limits at roadworks are in place to protect both drivers and the workforce," said Agency project manager Dave Sledge.
A new machine to improve safety and reduce congestion at roadworks on high-speed roads was unveiled by the Minister for Road Safety, Dr Stephen Ladyman, 2006-08-09.
The giant new barrier transfer machine (BTM) can lift 12 tonnes of concrete safety barriers for motorway roadworks into place at a speed of seven mph, helping the Agency to keep more lanes open for drivers during peak periods and offering a higher level of barrier protection to motorway road workers.
"In 2005, five road workers were killed in the course of their work on England’s motorways and major roads, making the motorway one of the most dangerous working environments in Britain," said Dr Ladyman.
"This new machine will help to give extra protection to workers and the public on our busiest roads and help the Agency to use lanes more efficiently during roadwork programmes.
"Road workers risk death and injury from traffic accidents every day, while making sure our roads are safe and well maintained and drivers must respect their safety."
The Agency and its contractors are committed to reducing the number of deaths and injuries on our roads and it is asking drivers to help stop the death toll from rising.
In May 2006, the Agency published its 2006-07 Road Worker Safety Action Plan, setting out the steps being taken by the Agency, its service providers and key partners to improve the safety of road workers.
The Agency’s Safety at Roadworks campaign, launched in 2001, gives six simple messages: Drivers approaching road works are advised to:
- Keep within the speed limit – it is there for your safety.
- Get into the correct lane in good time – don’t keep switching.
- Concentrate on the road ahead, not the roadworks.
- Be alert for works traffic leaving or entering roadworks.
- Keep a safe distance – there could be queues in front.
- Observe all signs – they are there to help you.
A vehicle travelling at 70mph on a motorway will enter roadworks only 51 seconds after seeing the ‘roadworks one mile ahead’ sign.
‘Driving Through Roadworks’ is available from Highways Agency Publications on 0870 1226 236, reference HA113/04.
Further information is available on the Highways Agency website, by following the link from the story on the home page called ‘Safety at Roadworks’.