Balfour Beatty Living Places Introduce Body-Worn Cameras to Combat Road Worker Abuse
To enhance the safety and wellbeing of road workers, Balfour Beatty Living Places is introducing body-worn cameras for public facing teams across the country.
The decision to introduce body-worn cameras comes in response to an alarming increase in incidents of verbal harassment, threats, and physical assault against road workers while carrying out their essential duties.
National statistics provided by Safer Highways suggest that one in 10 roadworkers have been subjected to physical abuse in the last year, with one in five reporting having missiles, such as litter and bottles, thrown at them. In the most serious incidents, workers have reported cars being deliberately driven through cones and barriers towards them.
And the risk is not limited to physical injuries. Two-thirds of workers said they have been verbally abused by passing motorists and one in four roadworkers have suffered with mental health issues as a result.
Recognising the urgent need for action, body-worn cameras are currently being trialled on Balfour Beatty Living Place’s Highways contract in Southampton, with a national roll-out to other projects expected in the coming months.
Brian Hammersley, Contract Director at Balfour Beatty said: “The problem of road worker abuse and traffic management incursions is not unique to Southampton. But with the increase in incidents we have seen on our project, we hope the implementation of body-worn cameras will help deter some of the behaviours our teams are sadly subjected to.”
This initiative is just one part of Balfour Beatty Living Place’s wider commitment to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of workers, who play an essential role in maintaining and improving infrastructure around the country. Improvements are also being made to the way workers report incidents of abuse, and conflict management training is being offered for teams in public facing roles.
The introduction of body-worn cameras will serve as a powerful deterrent, as well as provide a crucial means of gathering evidence in the event of abusive incidents, helping to facilitate law enforcement efforts where necessary.
Kevin Robinson, Chief Executive of Safer Highways, praised the new initiative and explained how it will support the organisation’s Stamp It Out campaign:
“It is great to see Balfour Beatty Living Places taking action to provide their people with the best possible protection.
“Road workers play a crucial role in maintaining and improving the country’s roads, ensuring smoother journeys and safer roads for everyone. Yet we know that 35% of people who join the profession will leave within 5 years, in part because of the hostile environment they face while simply doing their job.