• Safer Highways

50% roadworkers have been a victim of abuse in the last week | Stamp it Out


Shocking statistics reveal that 70% of roadworkers have been the victim of verbal or physical abuse in the last month with 50% saying they have been verbally abused in the last 7 days.


Shocking statistics released by Safer Highways reveal that the levels of abuse which operatives on our network are far greater than expected with 50% of operatives revealing they have been subject to verbal abuse inside the last 7 days and a shocking 70% admitting they have been the victim of either verbal or physical abuse in the last calendar month.


The findings come as a result of a series of focus group interviews conducted with Amey operatives on the Transport Scotland South West contract by FYLD, the organisation commissioned by Safer Highways to develop its Stamp it Out reporting tool.


The research, which has been carried out as a part of the industry-wide Stamp it Out programme, was carried out in the weeks running up to Christmas and worryingly was not a seasonal deviation but instead something which is commonplace on our network.


In the research Fyld found that:


  • Every operative had experienced some form of physical or verbal abuse from a member of public at work at least once

  • 50% of operatives experienced abuse in the last week

  • 70% experienced abuse in the last month

  • Abuse incidents are significantly under-reported

  • Verbal abuse is accepted as ‘part of job’ and ‘nothing personal’ and was mostly not reported at all

  • Not hearing any feedback, not seeing anything change, having ‘work to finish’, ‘too much fuss’ are the key reasons why abuse incidents were not reported


The findings are, in effect the first, non-client led survey with complete independent integrity, meaning those spoken to were able to do so without any fear of reprisals. Speaking about the report and indeed its findings, Kevin Robinson, Chief Executive of Safer Highways, the industry-led movement which champions roadwork Health, Safety and Wellbeing said,


"The findings, whilst not unexpected, are shocking to say the least.


" I am incredibly saddened by hearing what those we put to work on the public highway are subject to.


"Imagine going to work every day knowing you are running the gauntlet of facing the prospect of abuse on a day on day basis.


"Surely as a society we, in the 21st century, should not be in a position where we expose our people to this kind of risk.


"Domestic abuse is now something we frown upon and yet I would suggest that those who shake their heads in shame at the perpetuators of the above are the ones guilty of exactly the same to our roadworkers."


Sadly the findings are not in isolation on the specific contract surveyed with others now coming forward to reveal that their own internal employee surveys have revealed similar levels.


Speaking to Safer Highways one Chief Executive, responsible for running a major part of the strategic road network said,


"Sadly, the initial findings below are completely aligned with our own from some limited analysis we undertook in partnership with National Highways.


" Whilst probably not statistically robust, our analysis also suggested some worrying patterns in regional variation – I recall overall severity of abuse to be more likely in the South East than the South West."


Over the last 18 months incidents of abuse have been on the increase due to driver frustrations, possibly filed by the pandemic.


The aim of the Stamp it Out programme is to not only highlight the issue but also to make its occurrence socially unacceptable.





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