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Roadworks are often brought up in conversation when people talk about delays to their journeys. Something that has recently been in the media spotlight is the safety of road workers themselves.
In January, a Road Worker was killed whilst he was working on the A361 in Devon. A van driver lost control of his vehicle and veered into an area marked with protective cones. The 48-year-old road worker was hit by the van’s wing mirror and suffered fatal head injuries.
Evidence showed that the van driver used his smartphone six times in the 30 minutes prior to the collision, with a six-minute internet session around the time the road worker was killed. The use of mobile phones whilst driving is illegal and many road safety organisations are calling for tougher penalties.
The Road Workers’ Safety Forum (RoWSaF) was established in 2001 to promote the health, safety and welfare of Road Workers in the UK. Research conducted by the Highways Agency found that 13 road workers were killed in England alone whilst working on motorways and A-roads. This makes the Road Worker industry one of the worst employment sectors for fatal accident rates among its workforce.
A national radio campaign in 2013 pleaded with drivers to “Take Extra Care” when driving through roadworks. The campaign focussed on the lack of awareness among some drivers that roadworks are an actual place of work for thousands of people with some hard-hitting radio adverts aimed at HGV drivers, reminding them that Road Workers are “made of flesh and blood”.
Such campaigns and the good work carried out by RoWSaF will hopefully cut down on the number of injuries to Road Workers. It’s still the case however that many drivers still think that it’s acceptable to put lives at risk by not taking care when driving through road works.
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