VANCOUVER — Vancouver police and construction safety officials are once again corralling careless drivers in the Cone Zone.
The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) teamed up with WorkSafeBC and the Work Zone Safety Alliance on May 14 for the eighth annual B.C. Cone Zone campaign, an enforcement blitz held in the morning at a roadside worksite located at Fraser Street and East 28th.
The Cone Zone campaign is intended to raise awareness of the hazards faced by construction workers at roadside worksites. Cones, flashing lights and vehicles can be used to alert drivers to route changes, blocked lanes and the presence of construction workers.
The VPD ticketing during the Cone Zone launch netted five speeding tickets, as well as five tickets for failing to wear a seatbelt. Three drivers were ticketed for lacking a front license plate and two were stopped for using an electronic device. One driver was ticketed for not displaying their “N” sign, which indicates a new driver, and a cyclist was ticketed for not wearing a bike helmet. Eight warnings were also issued.
“B.C.’s roadside workers do important work improving and repairing infrastructure we all rely on and they deserve a safe work environment. I urge all drivers to be mindful of the hardworking people on our roads by slowing down and driving safely through any and all work zones,” said B.C. Minister of Labour Harry Bains in a statement.
Last year one worker died as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle and 25 workers were injured. There have been a total of 12 roadside worker deaths and 218 injuries as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle between 2008 and 2017, a WorkSafeBC statement said. Of those incidents involving injury, 42 per cent were traffic control persons, 14 per cent truck drivers and 10 per cent were public services and construction labourers.
“With the increase in road work at this time of year across the province, I can’t stress enough the need for all drivers to slow down and use caution in construction zones. The people carrying out this important road work are in a vulnerable position, and they deserve our patience and full attention,” B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena said.
The Cone Zone campaign coincides with an uptick in roadside work in the spring and summer months. Major Vancouver road projects during that time include upgrades on Fraser Street from King Edward to 33rd Ave. and street improvements on Quebec St. and 1st Ave.
In the Okanagan work is being done on Westside Road – La Casa to Muir Road, and on Vancouver Island safety improvements are being made on Highway 4 – Kennedy Hill, between Port Alberni to the west coast of the island.
Employers, the WorkSafeBC release said, have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their workers and train and supervise them on roadside safety. Workers should know how to identify hazards and assess risk, follow safe work procedures, follow proper set up and take down procedures, wear appropriate high visibility garments and report unsafe work conditions to their supervisor.
“The driving public must also be vigilant when they come across vehicles with flashing lights. If drivers see flashing blue, red or yellow lights they must slow down and move over to avoid harming workers such as first responders, tow-truck operators, and maintenance and utility crews,” stated WorkSafeBC industry and labour services manager Mark Ordeman.