July 23 was a sad day for a family in Cape Ray and highway workers who lost a husband and a co-worker in a traffic accident while on the job.
Making announcements on paving in western Newfoundland this week, Paul Davis, Minister of Transportation and Works, took some time to talk about highway safety and workers with his department.
He paid tribute to the man who lost his life in that tragic accident that took place on the Trans-Canada Highway just kilometres west of the Flat Bay turnoff, which also resulted in injuries to another transportation worker sitting in a truck.
Luckily that worker’s injuries were not severe, but the whole incident was a reminder how much danger these people are in when they go out to work on roads across the province during the summer.
Davis talked about how his department is fully reviewing the way its workers go about their business while on the highways and byways, whether it relates to painting new lines on the roads to installing new guide rails to other chores that requires workers to be physically on or at the edge of the highway.
He said new manuals and new standards are being developed because it’s important the department provides a safe workplace for its own workers and contractors who do work on the 10,000 kilometres of roads that are in this province.
That’s great to hear and the more safety that can be promoted the better. Many drivers, says the minister, get frustrated when they have long waits on highways while construction is taking place.
Another problem is that often during construction signs are placed along the highway with reduced speeds and not changed during times when construction is not actually taking place. The problem with that is after driving through those zones, drivers become complacent and go through at the regular posted speed or close to it.
This has to be more closely monitored and highway workers and construction company workers need to make it a daily practice to cover up, lie down, or even turn around those signs when leaving work for the day.
Of course drivers should be obeying all the signs that are posted for the safety of those working on the roads and themselves.
It seems everyone wants to get somewhere in a big hurry but slowing down in a construction zone is a best practice.