Following a rise in road worker abuse in the area, Luton Council has taken positive steps to help eradicate it by signing the industry-led Stamp It Out Commitment.
In doing so it becomes the 100th organisation, whether local authority or contractor to sign the pledge in under six months.
By signing this, the council pledges to join the industry-led campaign to end roadworker abuse and the abuse of anybody working on the public highway.
It also pledges to; manage risk effectively through strong values, prioritise the safety of its people; ensure that when its people are exposed to risk of abuse it will empower them to speak up and demonstrate to its workforce that it will not tolerate the abuse workers find themselves exposed to on a daily basis.
Stamp It Out is an industry led programme and media campaign aimed at making the abuse of those who work on the public highways socially unacceptable and an occurrence that is frowned upon.
According to the organisation, there are 300 cases of incursions and abuse that takes place on monthly basis around the UK. But just 1 in 5 of those incidents is reported with an estimate figure of 1,500 cases per month or 18,000 a year on the UK road network.
The council wants to remind motorists that roadworks, although frustrating at times, are there to improve the road network for the people of Luton and those travelling through it.
The council plans and coordinates work in advance as much as possible, informing residents when this is taking place, but occasionally emergency works need to take place which means this is not always possible.
The council understands you might be annoyed by this at times too, but please don’t take it out on its hardworking team of roadworkers-who are just doing their jobs.
In the last few years, workers from Luton Council’s contractor, VolkerHighways, have been subject to abuse. Examples include; a member of the public who mounted the footway and drove straight at a road worker making ‘gun gestures’ before laughing and driving off and another who accused a traffic management operative of abusing their family members. Elsewhere, a taxi driver was found speeding at workers, swearing and threatening physical abuse and a drunk member of public kicked over traffic management equipment, breaking it, as well as several other cases of verbal, racial and physical abuse.
Kevin Robinson, Programme Director of Stamp It Out added: “Those working on the public highway in Luton do not deserve to go to work and be the subject of abuse. With 1 in 4 working in construction within the region admitting they suffer from poor mental health, mow more than ever it is vital that the client, the contractor and the community unite together to take a zero-tolerance stance and make abuse of the workforce a thing of the past. I am delighted Luton Council has become the 100thorganisation to sign our commitment.”
Cllr Javed Hussain, portfolio holder for sustainable development and highways at Luton Council said: “We are upping the ante in the fight against road worker abuse. Luton Council fully supports the campaign to stamp out road worker abuse both in Luton and across the country. Any abuse of any kind against workers should not be tolerated. Abuse of the police, a doctor or nurse or a retailer worker would be considered anti-social, so why should workers have to accept this as part of their everyday job?”