B.C. launches road safety 'Cone Zone' campaign

386 claims from workers in past 10 years: WorkSafeBC

British Columbia has launched its 2012 Cone Zone campaign — a road safety initiative that encourages drivers to take care when driving near roadside workers. The campaign encourages drivers to reduce their speed, avoid driver distraction and respect the roadside as a workplace when driving through the "Cone Zone."

"This is the busiest time of the year for road construction, so it is important for drivers to pay attention and avoid distractions in work zones," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minster Blair Lekstrom. "These workers are sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, and we want every one of them to return home to their families after work."

This year, drivers can visit ConeZoneBC.com for tips and helpful information about safely navigating through roadside work zones.

For roadside workers the "Cone Zone" is a potentially high-risk work environment in close proximity to traffic. In the last 10 years, WorkSafeBC has received 386 claims from workers — typically working in Cone Zones — who were struck by motor vehicles. Of the claims, 46 per cent were classified as serious injuries and three per cent resulted in the death of the worker.

Every day roadside workers around the province experience near misses — incidents that do not result in workplace injury but had the potential to do so.

"The difference between a near miss and a serious injury can often amount to little more than luck," said Mark Ordeman, WorkSafeBC manager for transportation. "Many roadside workers have narrowly avoided being injured by drivers and have come very close to having their lives changed by a workplace injury."

The summer months see an increase in roadside work throughout the province that includes municipal workers, landscapers, tow-truck drivers, telecommunications and utility workers, and emergency and enforcement personnel.

The "Cone Zone" message expands beyond the messages of two other initiatives — WorkSafeBC's "Slow Down" signage campaign aimed at large construction projects, and the provincial government legislation that requires drivers to "slow down and move over" when approaching emergency vehicles stopped at the side of the road — to encompass all roadside workers.

The Cone Zone campaign is a joint provincial initiative supported by organizations committed to improving the safety of roadside workers. They are the BCAA Road Safety Foundation, BC Ambulance Service, BC Construction Safety Alliance, BC Flagging Association, BC Hydro, BC Landscape and Nursery Association, BC Municipal Safety Association, B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, FortisBC, IBEW258, ICBC, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, RDM Enterprises, Actsafe, Telus, the Community Against Preventable Injuries, Automotive Retailers Association, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, Lower Mainland police and WorkSafeBC.

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