Road construction, either for the purposes of building new roads or maintaining existing roads is essential for Australia’s transport infrastructure. However, roadworks create risks for both the road workers as well as the public. Road workers are at risk of physical injury. While current data relating specifically to construction industry road workers is not available historical information suggests that each year around 100 traffic controllers are injured and require medical treatment or time off work, and tragically at least one is killed. Road workers are at risk of physical injuries, but their roles also pose a psychological risk. A large number of workers have reported driver aggression and being subjected to verbal abuse, objects being thrown at them and being threatened by drivers.
“As I was picking up my signs, I had a bottle thrown at me smashing at my feet.”
“…a truck decided he was going to go through the cones… Abused the Traffic Controller… went through the work lane dragging a cone with him.”
“Two employees were standing behind a machine and a person in a car egged both of them.”
There are extensive traffic management regulations, policies and procedures aimed at ensuring the safety of road users, traffic control and road work personnel in construction zones. While there is a lack of detailed and accurate records of all incidents, studies have shown that crash rates increase in locations when roadworks are occurring.