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Safety Matters


Our blog discussing workplace safety opportunities in Nova Scotia and around the world.

Slow Down, Move Over: Protecting Workers and Drivers in Summer Work Zones

As road work picks up in the summer season, roadside workers and drivers in Nova Scotia face numerous hazards as thousands of vehicles pass through work sites at high speeds. Every motorist has a responsibility to keep these workers safe.

Work zones encompass any roads undergoing visible maintenance or construction.  In addition to the risks of traditional construction zones (such as falls,  falling objects, or faulty machinery) these workers are also at risk of motor-vehicle collisions.  

To combat these risks, Nova Scotia launched the Slow Down, Move Over campaign emphasizing the legal obligation for drivers to reduce speed and move over to safeguard workers during their job duties. Fines start at $350.00.

For workers and employers operating within work zones here are some essential safety tips to consider:

  • Avoid working near the edge of the work zone whenever possible
  • Clearly display warning signs or information about the work zone to alert drivers
  • Position yourself to face oncoming traffic for better visibility
  • Conduct daily inspections of all signaling equipment such as signs, cones, machinery, and vehicles to ensure proper functioning and prevent tampering
  • Assign a traffic control person to hold a sign in front to indicate their presence

Roadside workers should also have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure their safety while on the job. This includes a hard hart with retro-reflective striping, CSA-certified protective footwear and high visibility vest or clothing that complies with the CSA standard for Z-96-22 High Visibility Safety Apparel.

Slow Down, Move Over aims to enhance roadside safety when encountering emergency vehicles with flashing lights. This law now includes public safety officers, tow truck drivers, in addition to emergency personnel, conservation officers, and motor vehicle inspectors.  

Motorists must reduce their speed to 60 km/hr or follow the speed limit if it is lower than 60 km/hr when passing a stopped emergency vehicle. On roads with two or more lanes in their direction, drivers are required to change lanes and move further away if it can be done safely. This law serves as a protective measure to ensure the safety of workers carrying out their duties in these hazardous environments.

While various measures such as signage, high-visibility clothing and fines aim to regulate driver behaviour in work zones, the safety of roadside workers heavily relies on attentive and respectful drivers. Drivers must avoid distractions while behind the wheel and take these precautions to ensure the safety of everyone on the road: 

  • Pay attention to speed display signs and adjust speed accordingly
  • Reduce speed when entering work zones
  • Obey traffic control people
  • Be prepared to suddenly stop
  • Maintain a safe distance from workers and equipment
  • Stay alert to other drivers and potential hazards
  • Obey construction zone signs
  • Allow extra time to account for potential delays

Drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists should be aware that the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) has several road safety initiatives underway to create safer roadways and neighborhoods. Theses efforts aim to eliminate fatalities and injuries resulting from collisions. As improvements are made to streets and sidewalks, it is important for individuals to watch out for crews in work zones this summer.

By prioritizing roadside safety, we can ensure the ensure that roadside workers and drivers alike can return home safely at the end of each day.

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