Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (June 2015)
Three teenagers have been killed and a flag person has been critically injured in a four-vehicle crash at a construction zone in Saskatchewan. The collision occurred on Highway six just south of the town of Spalding, about 200 km north of Regina.
On May 3, 2015, a crack-ceiling project was underway when a semi-tractor trailer reportedly rear-ended a car, carrying three people aged 14, 15 and 17. Their car was then pushed into a truck, which hit a 21-year-old flag person the three teenagers in the car were pronounced dead on the scene, while the flagger was flown to a hospital in Saskatoon.
Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, Nancy Heppner, issued a statement on May 4, 2015 urging caution in work zones. “As roadwork ramps up for another season across the provincial highway system, drivers must exercise the utmost caution at all times.”
In Saskatchewan, drivers are legally required to slow down to 60 km/h when passing highway workers or flaggers within signed work zones or when passing equipment with its amber warning lights on.
“Highway work zones are active construction sites with numerous and significant potential safety risks,” Heppner said.
Changes made to improve safety and the provinces work zones include simplified signage, rumble strips and photo enforcement, according to the statement.
In 2012, 18-year-old Ashley Don Richards was on her first shift as a flight person at a road construction site near Midale, Saskatchewan when a vehicle drove through the site killing her.
Following the incident, heavier fines were introduced. The base fined for speeding in a work zone is $210 and increases by three for every kilometre over the speed limit up to 90 km/h and by six dollars for every kilometre over 90 km/h. Speeding through a work zone and hundred kilometres an hour would result in a $530 penalty which includes an $80 victim fined surcharge.
I realize this is now 6.5 years ago but the fines to drive through a construction zone at 100km/hour are outrageous. Think about it, 100 km/hour through a congested construction zone and someone can drive though it with very little deterrent. The fines should be in the thousands of dollars and loss of vehicle. Possible dangerous driving charges would be applicable.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.