Drivers in Sheffield have been accused of throwing cones and barriers at council employees, shouting abuse, spitting and mounting pavements in fits of road rage over delays caused by maintenance work.
In a bid to protect their staff from abuse from raging motorists in the city, Sheffield City Council has exposed some of the most shocking acts of violence the workers have been exposed to on multiple occasions.
The council said that both bin collection crews and road workers are subject to tirades from irate drivers simply because their work is causing minor delays and road closures.
A recent example occurred in the south-east of the city where work was being carried out overnight. The Streets Ahead Supervisor reported a car that had mounted the pavement driving around the road closure point.
When they were unable to drive any further, the driver got out of their car, threw traffic cones and barriers at operatives whilst shouting abuse and causing damage to nearby vehicles.
While physical violence of this nature is less prevalent, the most common issue faced by the Streets Ahead and Veolia workforce is verbal abuse,
Darren Butt oversees Sheffield City Council’s Streets Ahead project, which carries out much of the roadworks in the city.
He said: “It’s a frequent occurrence unfortunately. Our workforce is spat upon, have objects such as bottles thrown at them, and are frequently abused just for doing their jobs.
“Even during these difficult times, when we are continuing to deliver essential services on behalf of the city, this behaviour has continued.”
He added: “We hope to further raise awareness of the issues and ask that everyone who comes into contact with our workforce, whether on foot or whilst driving, treats them with respect.”
Roadowrks in Sheffield are carried out by Amey for Streets Ahead, and bin collections are organised by Veolia.
Councillor Mark Jones, Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene and Climate Change, added: "I am enormously grateful for the hard work and dedication shown by Streets Ahead and Veolia workers in making Sheffield, a cleaner and greener city for all residents and visitors.
"Although traffic delays can be frustrating for everyone, the very least we expect for our workforce is to return home to their families after a day’s work, without having their lives put at risk or being subjected to any physical and verbal abuse by the reckless behaviour of a very small minority of people, simply for doing their job.
“I ask that any residents who witness this type of behaviour towards any of our staff, or our partners staff, please report this to South Yorkshire Police to help prevent such incidents.”
Amey along with many others are supporting the 'Stamp it Out' campaign launched by Safer Highways, asking as many people as possible to sign a petition to change the law, to give roadworkers and those working on the frontline greater protection against abuse and violence. The petition needs 10,000 signatures for the subject to be debated in Parliament.
To get involved now with the Stamp it Out Campaign and sign the petition here.