September 2 2014 Latest news:
Kath Sansom, .
Monday, May 12, 2014
Roadworkers are being protected from angry drivers following a spate of incidents in Cambridgeshire where they have been physically and verbally abused.
This week sees the start of a month long campaign from Cambridgeshire County Council and Skanska in an attempt to protect road workers from harm.
Since August 2013 there have been 30 cases of road workers being attacked, physically or verbally by members of the public.
Skanska says some of its workers in Cambridgeshire have been the target of abuse from members of the public, from being sworn at, having drink cans thrown at them or cars driving erratically and illegally through closed off work sites.
In 2013 there were 6 reported cases of physical violence and 24 of verbal abuse of Skanska highway workers across the southern region.
The campaign includes a month of radio advertising to highlight the hazards associated with driving through roadworks and the risks road workers face from poor driving practices.
Nicola Debnam Head of Local Infrastructure and Street Management at Cambridgeshire County Council said: “Our road workers are out in all weathers and doing difficult and hard work that is vital to keep people moving across our County.
“Unfortunately a minority of people feel it’s OK to abuse them, verbally and sometimes physically. Working on roads is dangerous already and there is no excuse for this threatening behaviour.
“All we ask is people have consideration and understanding that they are just doing their jobs and abusive behaviour will not be tolerated.
“They want to carry out their work as quickly and safely as possible so road users can be on their way and return home to their families at the end of the day.”
Andy Denman, Business Director for Skanska said: “It’s unacceptable that our road workers who are trying the make the roads across the county safer for the public to travel on, are being abused.
“This campaign is to highlight the importance of the road worker. They are people with families who come to work to do a critical role, without which road travel would not be possible.
“Safety is a key priority in our business. I want to ensure that as a business we are doing everything possible to ensure our staff are going home safely at the end of each day.
“We are working with Cambridgeshire Constabulary to support with legal action where we have recorded evidence of unacceptable behaviour.”
The road workers in Cambridgeshire have also been introduced to the use of CCTV on Stop/Go boards to identify drivers who ignore the signs and drive straight through works areas.