The ‘See the cones. Obey the zones.’ campaign was recently launched on Facebook and Twitter by major civil construction company Fulton Hogan and mirrors concerns Greater Shepparton City Council has for its own road workers.
The campaign claims one of the biggest single risks to Australians that work on our roads is that of public disregard for traffic management around worksites. Every year there are thousands of accidents and near misses caused by drivers failing to reduce their speed to the posted limit when driving through roadworks.
Over the coming months a series of videos of roadworkers speaking about the impact these sorts of risks have on them as well as graphics highlighting some of the dangerous real life near miss incidents workers have experienced on the job will be featured in the campaign.
“Greater Shepparton City Council takes the safety of its outdoor workers very seriously. We want all of our workers to go home to their families every night,” said Acting Director Infrastructure, Michael Freeman.
“We have parks and gardens staff that can be close to moving traffic when mowing, picking up rubbish or garden maintenance. They can be quite vulnerable if all vehicles do not reduce their speed to the posted speed restrictions and continue doing 50-60km an hour,” said Mr Freeman.
“Road workers are in a vulnerable position as they can actually be on the road conducting essential road repairs or road marking.”
“Even when you don’t see work being done at the time you drive through, the speed limit signs are there for a reason - the road surface may not be safe to drive on at the regularly posted speed limit,” he said.
“Council currently maintains about 1,124 kilometres of unsealed local roads and 1,163 kilometres of sealed local roads across the local government area. On average we renew in the order of 130 kilometres of our local roads each year and we currently have multiple work crews undertaking road repairs and upgrades across the network.”
“We understand that these works sometimes cause driver frustration through disruption and delays to the movement of traffic particularly during peak times, but we ask that drivers be patient and slow down for our road workers – it will only add a few minutes to your trip and will help us to ensure the safety of our work sites and road workers,” said Mr Freeman.
Greater Shepparton City Council Manager People and Development, Karen Liversidge, reiterated the need for caution around road and maintenance works.
“Our employees do everything practicable to eliminate risks when working close to traffic. These include remaining vigilant at all times, scheduling works and maintenance on main roads to “off peak” times, identifying traffic conditions and even designing garden beds and median strips to be low maintenance and so avoiding the need to frequently reduce speed limits while workers are performing garden maintenance,” said Ms Liversidge.
“Unfortunately if vehicles are not travelling at the reduced speed limit, the reaction time by both the driver and our workers to avoid a potentially fatal incident is reduced significantly,” she said. “Our workers have a right to a safe work place and drivers need to play their part in providing it.”
Speed restrictions placed by Council workers when working on roads or close to moving traffic, are real, enforceable speed restrictions and are a mandatory requirement under the Road Management Act 2004 Code of Practice.
Members of the public are encouraged to throw their support behind safe driving by liking the campaign on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/seetheconesobeythezones/ and following it on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RoadWorkerSafe.