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Editorial: Worker safety extends to roads and highways

WorkSafe B.C.’s Road Safety at Work initiative offers reminders as autumn arrives
WorkSafe B.C. is reminding workers and employers that vehicles used for work are essentially workplaces on wheels, and worker safety is imperative on the roads, too. (Stock photo)

More vehicles are on the road at the start of fall, whether it be for school, driving to new activities, commuting to and from the daily 9-5, or driving as part of the job.

With that in mind, WorkSafe B.C.’s Road Safety at Work initiative is reminding British Columbians that driving at work is dangerous, but can be safer if everyone who uses the roads does their part.

It isn’t just professional drivers and gig workers who are driving as part of their job. Other types of workers might get behind the wheel to run office errands, call on clients or attend meetings.

WorkSafe B.C. noted in a press release that an average of 20 people died in work-related vehicle crashes between 2017-2021, with another 1,400 injured badly enough to miss work. Those figures add up to nearly one person being injured or worse every work day.

WorkSafe B.C. wants employers and employees to keep in mind that vehicles are considered workplaces and need to meet health and safety standards. The list of occupations with the most work-related crashes includes truckers, couriers and bus drivers, but also health-care workers, social workers and construction workers.

Nanaimo has many of Vancouver Island’s worst intersections for crashes, and even though nearly all crashes are preventable, driving can be dangerous at any time. Even if we aren’t speeding, impaired, fatigued or distracted, we’ll encounter motorists who are.

“Crashes aren’t inevitable, they aren’t always the fault of the other driver, and they’re certainly not a cost of doing business,” the release noted.

WorkSafe B.C. wants people to see the dangers of work-related driving – employers have legal and moral responsibilities to prioritize safety and employees have rights and obligations to refuse unsafe work.

Driving safely and working safely need to overlap, individually and collectively, to protect our workplaces on wheels – and any of us who are out and about.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo RCMP ensures motorists aren’t speeding through school zones

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