Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) has launched a ‘Respect Our Workforce’ campaign to remind members of the public to treat its operatives, inspectors and technicians on the road with due respect.
The experience of abusive behaviour from the public is very upsetting in any work environment. Unfortunately, for TfB staff who work on the highway, it’s an almost daily occurrence.
Staff have been sworn at, shouted at, spat at, had rubbish thrown at them, and have even been physically assaulted – all whilst just trying to do their job.
There are also instances where members of the public have driven through road closures simply because they don’t want to use the diversion route – not only putting their own lives at risk, but also the lives of workers.
The ‘Respect Our Workforce’ campaign will feature videos and photos from site, discussing some of the abuse that the workforce have to encounter.
Road closures can be frustrating, temporary signals can be annoying and that being held up by roadworks where you can’t see any work happening can be the last straw on a bad day. But TfB say that’s never an excuse to abuse the workforce.
TfB believe that a lot of anger comes from lack of information about closures and diversion routes and TfB wants to tackle this by informing the public about works as far ahead as possible. For social media users, there will be an increase in communications on upcoming works via Facebook and Twitter.
Tools such as roadworks.org are also being promoted, which let drivers plan their journey beforehand by checking for road closures, diversions and delays. There are also plans for the implementation of additional, more informative signage for closures and diversions.
The ‘Respect Our Workforce’ campaign seeks to highlight the gravity of the situation, and the fact that abuse of any worker on the highway is always totally unacceptable.
Drivers are asked to remember that issues on the road are not the fault of the workforce. If it’s necessary to speak to them about the work going on, it should always be done with respect and in a civil manner.
Buckinghamshire County Council Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member Mark Shaw, said: ‘They’re here to do a job. They’re here to look after our roads and make sure they’re safe for you to travel on. We’ve now provided bodycams to each of our traffic management people, so if any incidents happen, we can do something about it. So think, keep calm, and just turn back.‘