Safer Highways UK | Roadworker Abuse – what more can industry do?

Article Posted on: October 12, 2017


A year ago the HTMA revealed that from a cross section of 10 of its 23 member companies, there were alarmingly 347 incidents of road worker abuse reported.

Of these 267 were verbal in the form of swearing, shouting, hand gestures and face to face threatening but with no physical violence.

The others involved more shocking; assaults including shooting with guns and air rifles; throwing of items such as screwdrivers or fridges at workers; and kicking, punching or beating male and female operatives – in one case with baseball bats.

Reports of abuse received by the HTMA have included incidents of people being chased with machetes, sprayed with ammonia, being driven at and even sexual assault, none of which would ever be deemed acceptable in every day life.

“It can be men or women, from all walks of life, that abuse road workers be they passing through or living locally,” said HTMA’s project lead for its task and finish group on road worker abuse Pat Sheehan, who is also health and safety manager for transport infrastructure business Colas.

“It is easy to concentrate on the extreme stories of abuse but the reality is that is often people who are normally law abiding citizens who boil over when held up in traffic,” he added.

Now, one year on, Safer Highways UK is delighted to welcome Pat Sheehan to the event to examine what, if anything has changed over the last 12 months and also to examine what we as an industry must do to protect those who, as part of their work strive to maintain our network.

Taking place as part of the wider Highways UK event, Safer Highways UK takes place in its own dedicated theatre, sponsored by the above organisation, on Wednesday 8 November; the programme includes a series of presentations designed to give employers solutions to issues in the fields of workforce engagement, breaking down barriers to cultural change, legal compliance and dealing with stigmas surrounding mental health in the workplace.

Featuring presentations from Mike Wilson, Chief Highways Engineer at Highways England, Lucy Fell, Director of Safety, Health and Wellbeing at the same organisation and Steve Gooding, Director at the RAC Foundation, for the full Safer Highways UK programme click here.

The event is certificated for continued professional development by the CIHT, and with places strictly limited to 120 per session, already over 70% of places have been taken for most sessions; to book your place click here

For more information on the breadth of activities at Highways UK click here and Safer Highways UK in particular, here.

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