Construction worker’s injury inspires renewed calls for motorist safety around roadwork

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The family of a construction flagger who died nearly a decade ago after being struck by a vehicle is urging motorists to stay alert, after a similar incident sent a man to hospital Friday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/09/2019 (1042 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The family of a construction flagger who died nearly a decade ago after being struck by a vehicle is urging motorists to stay alert, after a similar incident sent a man to hospital Friday.

A construction worker on the job as a flagman at a roundabout near Sturgeon Road and Murray Park Road was initially listed in critical condition after being hit by a vehicle. He has since been upgraded to stable, Winnipeg police said Monday.

The incident took place about nine years after 21-year-old Brittany Murray died while working as a flagger on a highway resurfacing construction site on the outskirts of Winnipeg.

Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press Files File photo of a flagger working construction on St. Mary's Road. A construction worker on the job as a flagman was sent to hospital in critical condition after being hit by a vehicle, Friday.

Her father, Neil Murray, said awareness about the responsibility both motorists and construction workers have in ensuring workers are safe on the job needs to continue to be spread.

The recent incident “had our collective hearts pulsating again,” Murray said Monday. “You just shake your head and wonder why people want to save 30 seconds or a minute and put peoples’ lives at risk. It’s just so disheartening.”

SAFE Work Manitoba’s data collection doesn’t isolate incidents involving flaggers, but the highest percentage of all workplace injuries in Manitoba consistently occurs in construction. In 2018, the injury rate was 13.5 for every 100 full-time employees in the field.

Director of operations for the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba, Derek Pott, said flagger fatalities are rare. “However, it’s not rare that there’s incidents on construction sites where people are speeding through zones or something of that nature.”

Pott agreed with Murray in the need for constant awareness for everyone working and passing by a construction zone.

“It just takes one driver that’s texting, one driver’s that not paying attention, one driver that’s having a bad day, who’s not in the zone,” Murray said.

After his daughter’s death, Manitoba rolled out a new regulation known as “Brittany’s Law,” requiring drivers to slow down in a posted zone regardless if there are workers on-site or not.

One safety problem that persists, Murray said, is motorists get irritated when construction signs are not removed immediately after construction is complete and no workers are ever present.

“We urge people to calm down, to slow down, to be patient, to recognize that they’re driving through somebody’s workplace,” said Chris Lorenc, president of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association.

Lorenc added the prompt removal of signs is up to governments, rather than contractors.

maggie.macintosh@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @macintoshmaggie

Maggie Macintosh

Maggie Macintosh
Reporter

Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.

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