Everyone loves a summertime adventure, but nobody enjoys the drive to get there. The kids are calling out for ice cream, the car’s hot and the last thing you need is a queue of traffic and a reduced speed limit. But it’s that frustration and impatience that can often lead to motorists taking risks, becoming a danger for our teams who are hard at work surfacing roads around Lincolnshire. So in your haste to get to the coast, don’t forget that the lives of road workers could be at stake.
We know that the distant sight of traffic cones and hard hats is enough to make anyone sigh, but for road workers, the sight of a speeding vehicle careering towards them is even worse. Road worker deaths are among some of the top workplace fatality statistics and the job has been ranked the 16th most dangerous occupation in an Oxford University study. From verbal abuse to the physical threat of a motorist ignoring speed limits, road workers are open to all kinds of vulnerabilities from the general public.
Research by Highways England this year revealed a number of serious incidents and near misses, highlighting the dangers road workers are facing. Across the UK, nearly 300 incidents a week take place, putting thousands of road workers’ lives at risk. Collisions are frequent and injuries can devastate a life.
It’s easy to forget that the people under the fluorescent jackets that are in that moment, the cause for all your frustrations, are exactly that: people. People with an important job to do, that ultimately make sure the roads you travel on each and every day are in the best possible condition to make your journey safe and smooth.
Having an awareness of the roadworks taking place around the areas you frequently travel in is also a vital element of maintaining safety around work sites. Often, injuries and deaths occur because, despite warning signs, flashing lights and bright cones, motorists simply aren’t aware of the road surfacing and works taking place.
At Minster Surfacing, we take the safety of our teams very seriously and put all the necessary precautions in place to avoid accidents. However, there’s only so much influence we have! There are plenty of technologies available that go some way to minimising the risks road workers face, however the most important factor of all is simple: compassion, understanding and patience from motorists who appreciate road workers are doing an important job under difficult circumstances.
At the root of it all is changing driver perceptions of road workers and behaviours around roadworks. Fostering a good relationship between communities and the men and women working to maintain and develop all-important road networks will not only reduce casualties for both parties, but will improve the mental and physical wellbeing of hundreds of our workers and those across the county.
With over 1,000 road repairs planned throughout the summer, our teams will be hard at work alongside Lincolnshire County Council and Kier Group to improve Lincolnshire’s roads. That’s a lot of potential for any number of incidents to take place, but with patience, respect and cooperation from the community, we’re sure that we can keep the county moving and our workers safe.