Alberta tightens up roadside worker safety rules

Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | August 10, 2023

EDMONTON – The Alberta government is strengthening safety rules to protect roadside workers.

Starting Sept. 1 drivers in the lane closest to any roadside worker stopped at the side of the road with its lights flashing must slow down to 60 km/h or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower, a release stated.

Drivers must also move over to the far lane if safe to do so and take steps to allow other drivers to move over.

“This is a common-sense rule change. If you see any flashing lights and people working on the side of the road, slow down to 60 km/h or move over to make an open lane beside them. We want to protect our police, paramedics, maintenance workers and tow truck drivers so they can get home safely at the end of the day. These people proudly serve Alberta, and we want to make sure we look out for them,” said Alberta Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors Devin Dreeshen in the release.

Currently only tow truck drivers and first responders are protected under the Traffic Safety Act but now all roadside workers stopped on the side of the road with lights flashing will be covered under the same protections.

“Worker safety is the top priority of our highway maintenance contractor member companies. While we provide training to employees so they can work safely around traffic, we rely on drivers to do their part to slow and make space for workers and machinery. ARHCA thanks all members of the legislature who supported Bill 5 for their concern for our employees’ lives,” added Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction CEO Ronald Glen.

According to the Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Board, there were 2,229 injuries involving workers being struck by a vehicle between 2014 and 2018 and between March 2018 and March 2021, there were approximately 130 collisions involving snowplows contracted by Transportation and Economic Corridors. In winter 2023 37 collisions occurred involving a government-contracted snowplow.