Construction crews don’t need ruby slippers to get them home safely, they need you

This article was published in May 2022 and may be outdated.

You may remember the scene from the Wizard of Oz where the unsuspecting Dorothy gets caught in a whirlwind of flying debris only escaping serious injury by sheer good luck.

For one Hydro worker on a Manitoba roadway, the story became a little too familiar one warm summer day a few years back.

White van sits on construction materials in job site.

The van at rest in the construction zone.

Enlarge image: White van sits on construction materials in job site.

A Manitoba Hydro underground construction crew was at work repairing a manhole in the middle of a busy street when a member of the public driving a van decided to run a red light. A law-abiding driver of a semi-tractor trailer was pushing through the intersection on the green light when it hit the wayward van with enough force to cause it to spin sideways and careen into Hydro’s excavation site. The force of the impact caused a shoring timber at the excavation site to dislodge, and a piece of plywood took flight, striking a Hydro worker with enough force to catapult him to the ground.

Our co-worker’s arm and back were scraped but the scene could have been a lot of worse, and too often has been worse.

Now, imagine you’re at your workspace concentrating on your tasks when somebody makes a poor decision, and you end up hurt. How would you feel?

Slow down. Watch for workers. Allow space between you and the roadway construction crew.

“Our number one priority is worker safety which includes maintaining a safe workspace,” said Monique, a safety officer with Manitoba Hydro. “As construction season is upon us, it’s a great time to remind everyone to slow down when driving through construction zones and be mindful, in a split second you could be driving through a worker’s workspace.”

Remember, when you’re driving:

  • Practice respectful and safe driving habits.
  • Lower your speed.
  • Pay attention and drive with extra caution.
  • Use caution when in construction zones, this is someone’s workplace.

SAFE Roads campaign launches

This year, as part of the annual Safe Roads campaign, Manitoba motorists are reminded of the consequences of speeding through construction zones.

Police officer writes traffic ticket for unhappy female driver.

There are consequences when you break the law.

Enlarge image: Police officer writes traffic ticket for unhappy female driver.