Highways Agency
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Respect road workers in their "office" - new dvd drives home road worker safety

Respect road workers in their "office" - new dvd drives home road worker safety

HIGHWAYS AGENCY News Release (HA48-08) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 4 November 2008

Every day thousands of road workers across the country put their trust in the hands of around 18 million other road users.

More than 4,000 road workers - approximately one for every mile of the Highways Agency's network - work day in, day out to keep the roads safe and well maintained for drivers.

With their safety in mind a new information DVD, which includes a hard-hitting short film called "Respect", as well as radio clips aimed at regular commuters (primarily those driving on business) has been developed by the Highways Agency, on behalf of the Road Workers' Safety Forum (RoWSaF), with its partners from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the maintenance, construction and road safety industry, and THINK!
Voiced over by respected TV presenter Nick Ross (formerly of BBC's Crimewatch), the film highlights why drivers need to have respect for road workers and an appreciation of the consequences their actions could have.

The hard-hitting "Respect" film shows a car crashing through a busy classroom, an operating theatre during surgery and then into a coned off part of a road where people are at work - the car then collides with a road worker. The longer "5 seconds" film focuses on the driver on business and the possible cost of their actions at road works.

It is not only the driver that needs to act responsibly at road works; the industry - including the Highways Agency - has a major part to play. That is why the Agency is making available two £80,000 hi-tech mobile training vehicles, for other employers to keep their staff up to date with the latest health & safety and working practices.

Both the DVD and the vehicles can be used to spread the messages about safely driving near road works to staff, suppliers and the public.
The message is that road workers deserve space and respect to do their work as much as other professionals.

At the "Respect our Road Workers" campaign launch on the M1 J6a to J10 widening scheme in Hertfordshire, which boasts over 1.25 million hours worked without a reportable accident, Graham Dalton, Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, said:

"Between 2003 and 2007, 10 roadworkers were killed and 81 were seriously injured while working on motorways and major A roads in England. One accident is one too many, and these tragic incidents are avoidable. Road workers are out there doing a job to make journeys better for road users. They work close to moving traffic every day and deserve our respect for doing so. Our new toolkit is about encouraging drivers to use appropriate behaviour whilst driving through roadworks, to respect those working there and to help the construction and maintenance industry to do as much as it can for them too."

Derek Turner, Director for Network Operations in the Highways Agency, said:

"Driving safely through roadworks can save lives. Loss of life, or a serious injury, is a very real threat to these workers, and so is physical and verbal abuse. They are out there doing their job. The road is their office.

"Cones, barriers, signs and reduced speed limits are there for a reason - to protect our workers from danger and keep the public safe. I urge all drivers to pay close attention to safety when driving near roadworks."

Nick Ross said:

"Driving quickly through roadworks might not seem like a problem from inside your vehicle, but it's frighteningly quick if you're working on the carriageway, and careless driving represents a terrible danger to road workers."

Adrian Walsh, Director of RoadSafe (the road safety partnership responsible for delivering the Government's "Driving for Better Business" programme), attended the launch and presented Balfour Beatty-Skanska, contractors for the M1 J6a to J10 widening scheme, and the Highways Agency with a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. He said:

"Those who work on the roads deserve our respect. The Highways Agency is at the forefront of those working to improve road safety. Commitment to the safety of their road workers and contractors as well as that of the travelling public, is a vital part of their Road Safety Action Plan.

"Their new toolkit "Respect our Road Workers" is an excellent resource to assist local authorities and businesses in educating and informing their staff about the safety of road workers.

"The Highways Agency and its contractor's introduction of an average speed enforcement system for the M1 widening scheme, which ran for 3 years, delivered a real improvement to road worker and motorist safety. It eliminated fatalities and reduced injuries by 54 per cent in each year of the road works operation. Its success has been recognised by a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award."

For more information about the "Respect our Road Workers" campaign, visit http://www.highways.gov.uk/roadworker

There are six simple messages for drivers near road works:

1: Keep within the speed limit - it is there for your safety.
2: Get into the correct lane in good time - don't keep switching.
3: Concentrate on the road ahead, not the roadworks.
4: Be alert for works traffic leaving or entering roadworks.
5: Keep a safe distance - there could be queues in front.
6: Observe all signs - they are there to help you.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Interviews and a copy of the DVD "Respect our Road Workers" as well as stills from the film and pictures of the new training vehicles, are available from Kelly Logan, Highways Agency National Press Office on 0207 153 4824 or 07710 958536.

A picture of the Prince Michael International Safety Award presentation will also be available from the National Press Office by calling the numbers above.

1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England's motorways and major A roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.

2. Key facts about road workers on the Highways Agency network:
Breakdown of the severity of incidents involving road workers on England's motorways and major A roads:

2003: Fatals = 2; Serious or Major = 17; Slight = 42
2004: Fatals = 1; Serious or Major = 17; Slight = 43
2005: Fatals = 5; Serious or Major = 12; Slight = 38
2006: Fatals = 2; Serious or Major = 21; Slight = 41
2007: Fatals = 0; Serious or Major = 14; Slight = 29

A survey (2004) of 400 road workers on England's motorways and major A roads, found that:
- 77 per cent had suffered verbal abuse from passing drivers
- 54 per cent had a near miss with a vehicle
- 40 per cent had experienced objects being deliberately thrown at them (e.g. coins, cans)
- 13 per cent had suffered a slight personal injury (e.g. bruising)
- 3 per cent had suffered a major personal injury (e.g. broken nose)
- 89 per cent thought that drivers had accidents at roadworks as they were driving too fast, while 76 per cent thought is was down to the drivers' lack of concentration and 73 per blamed it on drivers not reading road signs.

3. The "Respect our Road Workers" DVD and supporting materials have been developed by the Highways Agency, with support from Balfour Beatty, Amey, Atkins, Chevron, Carillion, Transport Scotland, the Welsh Assembly and the Department for Regional Development Northern Ireland. The DVD and materials are available for use by any organisation that wants to educate or inform their staff, supply chain or their audiences on road worker safety - visit: http://www.highways.gov.uk/roadworker

4. RoadSafe is a partnership of leading companies in the motor and transport industries in Britain, the government and road safety professionals. We aim to work together to further reduce deaths and injuries caused by road accidents and promote safer road use. For more information about Road Safe and Driving for Better Business, visit: http://www.roadsafe.com

5. The Road Workers' Safety Forum (RoWSaF), which the Highways Agency is a member of, is a voluntary, cross-industry group of representatives with sufficient knowledge, experience and authority to recognise and address issues that affect the safety of road workers chaired by the Highways Agency. The focus of RoWSaF's activities is to continuously improve safety for road workers by developing, implementing and disseminating best practice, improving methods and standards of working, and supporting the trials of new techniques and equipment.

6. Real -time traffic information for England's motorways and major A roads is now available:

* From our new Traffic Radio service, available on DAB digital radio and the internet at http://www.trafficradio.org.uk To tune into the DAB service, simply press the "scan" button on your radio. The radio will tune into all available channels and you can select the new service by scrolling through the channels until you reach "Traffic Radio".

* On the internet at http://www.highways.gov.uk/trafficinfo

* By phone from the Highways Agency 24-hour voice activated phone service on 08700 660 115. (Calls from BT landlines to 0870 numbers will cost no more than 8p per minute; mobile calls usually cost more).

Before using a mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. Make sure it's safe and legal before you call.

7. For more general information about the Highways Agency and its work, visit the Highways Agency website http://www.highways.gov.uk, or telephone the Highways Agency Information Line on 08457 50 40 30 at any time. (Calls to 0845 numbers cost no more than 3p/min from BT residential landlines. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary)

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Issued by the Highways Agency National Press Office. For further information please contact Kelly Logan on 0207 153 4824 or 07710 958536.

For information about road worker safety in another region, please contact: ]

North West: Nigel Ellis, 0161 952 4507
North East: Ian Farrimond, 0191 202 3694
Yorkshire & Humber: Sheila Perry, 0113 341 3180
West Midlands: Filippa St Aubin D'Ancey, 0121 352 5516
East: Timma McKean or Jenny Thompson, COI on 01223 372797 / 84
East Midlands: James McDonald, 0115 971 2785
South East: James Wright, 01883 745 364 / Stuart Thompson, 01306 878110
South West: COI SW - Robin Miller, 0117 900 3559 / Wailim Wong, 01752 635053
Nationally: Kelly Logan, 0207 153 4824 (24 hour number).

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