Oxfordshire Council and contractor Milestone supports Respect our Workforce Week which helps highlights issue of growing abuse of roadworkers

Violence and verbal abuse against people working on our roads is being highlighted in a new campaign starting today [Monday 11 March].

The first Respect our Workforce Week runs from 11 – 15 March. It is organised by campaign group Stamp it Out and is supported by Oxfordshire County Council, its highways contractor Milestone and has the backing of Thames Valley Police.

The past decade has seen a rise in reported incidents, with a minority of motorists or residents taking their frustration out on roadworkers over delays as improvements are made to the network.

In Oxfordshire, some workers have been confronted with a knife, racially abused, physically manhandled and even threatened with shooting.

Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Management, said: “It is completely unacceptable for people to act in this way against those who are working in dangerous locations in all sorts of weather conditions to improve the condition of our roads.

“I was shocked to learn that 70 per cent of roadworkers are the victim of verbal or physical abuse every month, while half say they have been verbally abused in the last seven days. That’s why we are supporting the Respect our Workforce campaign and urge everyone to treat those working on our roads with common courtesy.”

Milestone has formed a roadworker safety group as part of its commitment to ensuring the health and safety of everyone working on the highways and created an app for employees to report verbal threats or assault.

Jim Daughton, Milestone Operations Director, said: “No one should face abuse simply for doing their job. At Milestone we are committed to ensuring the safety of everyone on the road network – and that includes our staff.

“Our teams are now equipped with body worn cameras and site CCTV is in place, where necessary. The message today is clear: abuse to highways operatives will not be tolerated.”

Kevin Robinson, Founder and Campaign Director of Stamp It Out, said: “Respect our Workforce Week marks a vital point in this campaign. It is not acceptable to abuse a doctor, nurse, teacher, or retailer worker, so why should those working on the public highway accept this too?”


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