HIGHWAYS bosses have pleaded with motorists to drive more carefully and be wary of workers on roads across Burton and South Derbyshire.
The dangers road workers can face every day on busy routes such as the A38, A50 and A444 are being highlighted as part of the Highways Agency’s national safety week.
The body is working with all its contractors to highlight the dangers after figures showed that, during the last 12 months, there have been 1,747 incidents where workers were injured while improving and maintaining the strategic road network in England.
Bosses have highlighted incidents such as a recent collapsed manhole on the A38, which saw dozens of men working just yards from speeding cars, as times when drivers needed to be extra cautious.
Wayne Norris, who leads on road worker safety in the Midlands for the Highways Agency, said: “We are committed to eliminating all fatalities, serious injuries and long-term ill health to workers maintaining our roads.
“They do a difficult and dangerous job carrying out vital work to keep our roads safe and well-maintained. But they face danger every day while working close to fast-moving traffic, in all weather conditions and often at night.
“We realise roadworks can be frustrating, but we urge everyone to ask themselves if it’s really worth risking their own and other people’s lives just to save a few minutes on their journey.”
Neil Davison, safety manager in the East Midlands for the agency, said he was always looking for new initiatives to keep workers safe and was about to roll out the latest technology – body cameras – in the East Midlands.
He said: “Body-worn CCTV is the latest innovation to be adopted and has already been piloted in the north east of England.
“The aim is to reduce the likelihood of serious confrontations between road workers and some members of the public, who often feel aggrieved or frustrated by their journey being delayed by essential road maintenance.
“These cameras will enable the wearer to capture moments that could lead to serious incidents where the worker is subjected to totally unacceptable physical or verbal abuse.
“We hope the cameras will act as a deterrent and encourage people to modify their behaviour before it gets out of hand.”