Wiltshire Council has become the first local authority to join Safer Highways
Wiltshire Council has become the first local authority to join Safer Highways as part of its new free membership programme and is also backing the organisation's industry-led Stamp It Out initiative to eradicate road worker abuse.
Cllr Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Highways said, "We have been working with our contractors to reduce abuse of those working on our behalf and have introduced measures to prevent it.
"We have had incidences of our contractors being subjected to physical abuse, being sworn at, driven at and several incidents of drivers refusing to move. Being a member of Safer Highways will help us understand the issue, give us access to training on how to defuse situations, it will also enable us to promote and share best practice.
"By becoming a member of Safer Highways will give us the chance to have a say in how the public highway can be made safer for all and shape its successful series of health, safety and wellbeing programmes."
Programmes developed by Safer Highways include its ground-breaking work on mental health in the workplace, Road to Wellbeing Survey and report, the new Stamp It Out Campaign, set up to eradicate abuse of roadworkers and aims to change the law making this abuse illegal and giving highway workers key worker status.
In Wiltshire one of the measures we have taken to reduce the abuse of contractors working on our behalf have included the use of police style body cameras, with a front facing screen so that members of the public can see the recording, we insist on pairing up gatemen and have written the use of body cameras into our contracts. The cameras and signage to say CCTV is in use has reduced the incidents and complaints.
Cllr Wayman added, "The only reason our contractors are out there maintaining the roads is for the public, so they have a safe and pleasant journey as they go about their business and of course to maintain our asset. Our workforce should not be abused they are 'highway heroes' and deserve the respect of the travelling public for the essential work that we do."
Kevin Robinson, Chief Executive of Safer Highways, "I am delighted that Wiltshire Council has committed to become a member of Safer Highways. It highlights its forward-thinking attitude towards keeping highway workers and the network in general safe as well as the wellbeing of our roadworkers and anyone else that works on the public highway. I hope Safer Highways will learn a lot from its work on the local network."
Notes to editors:
Safer Highways is a collaborative programme, supported by industry leaders from across the whole highways sector, together with some of the UK's, and indeed the world's, leading safety and wellbeing experts.
Its purpose is to keep health, safety and wellbeing at the fore of the highways industry and to help drive awareness, strong leadership, effective communication and best practice at all levels in our sector.
The Safer Highways vision is that the highways sector becomes a beacon of best practice for the good management of all health, safety and wellbeing issues, and that other sectors look to us as leaders in this field.
For more information on Safer Highways, go to: www.saferhighways.co.uk