Fears for safety of roadworkers

By John HowardHIGHWAYS bosses fear is only a matter of time before another worker loses their life on the region's roads.The stark warning was issued by from Highways Agency managers yesterday as they launched a new campaign to reduce death and injury accidents at roadworks.

By John Howard

HIGHWAYS bosses fear is only a matter of time before another worker loses their life on the region's roads.

The stark warning was issued by from Highways Agency managers yesterday as they launched a new campaign to reduce death and injury accidents at roadworks.

They said employees had been killed, been badly injured and even had drinks cans and objects hurled at them by frustrated motorists while carrying out roadworks.


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Five road workers were killed and 29 seriously injured in the course of their work on Highways Agency roads in 2002, the latest year for which figures are available.

In the previous year John Minns, 24, from Bramford, was killed in a collision with a vehicle while working on the central reservation of the A12 near Capel St Mary.

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Peter Smith, area manager for trunk roads in East Anglia, said: "We will lose more road workers if people do not obey the roadwork signs.

"When you are standing next to a live trunk road and lorries are going passed at up to 70mph, it's a frightening experience.

"If a driver takes his eye of the ball for just a moment, they could plough through our cones and into our workforce.''

Matthew Clarke, a manager with 33 years experience working on the roads, has first hand experience of the aftermath of an accident at roadworks.

Two members of a road team with whom he was working at the A14/A140 junction a few years ago were involved in a collision with a truck. One of them suffered severe spinal injuries and never worked again.

Mr Clarke, from Ipswich, said: "I have had people throw a half-full can of drink at me and it really can be quite frightening out there sometimes."

A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency added: "Almost one in five of the 400 workers who responded to a staff survey said they had suffered some injury caused by passing vehicles in the course of their careers while working on our road network.

"More than three-quarters of respondents said they had suffered verbal abuse from drivers and 40% reported having objects thrown at them by motorists.

"The survey findings highlight the risks faced by road maintenance crews every day at work, as the Highways Agency relaunches its safe driving campaign to reduce death and injury accidents at roadworks.

"Drivers are being urged drive with care and consideration and, in particular, to make sure they slow down, keep within the signed speed limits and pay attention to road signs and works traffic.''

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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