May has seen the launch of Transport for Buckinghamshire’s (TfB) latest campaign, Respect Our Workforce. Launched with the aim of reminding members of the public to treat operatives, inspectors and technicians on the road with respect, so far the campaign has featured videos and photos from site, discussing some of the abuse that the workforce have to encounter.
Customer facing employees, such as operatives, have been sworn at, shouted at, spat at, had rubbish thrown at them, bottles thrown at them and have even been physically assaulted – all whilst just trying to do their job. In some terrifying instances, operatives have even had members of the public drive through road closures because they don’t want to use the diversion route. By doing this, they are not only putting their own lives at risk, but also the operatives’ lives at risk too.
It’s a rare – and horrific – occasion if this kind of behaviour is experienced in an office based job, or a job with minimal customer engagement. However, for TfB operatives, inspectors and technicians, who meet members of the public regularly, it’s almost a daily occurrence.
We understand that road closures can be frustrating, that temporary signals can be annoying, that being held up at a site where you can’t see any work happening can be the last straw on a bad day, but it’s never an excuse to abuse our workforce.
Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member, Mark Shaw, said:
“They’re here to do a job. They’re here to look after our roads and make sure they’re safe for you to travel on. We’ve now provided bodycams to each of our traffic management people, so if any incidents happen, we can do something about it. Think, keep calm and just turn back.”
It’s hoped that this new campaign will shed some light on the gravity of the situation, and how TfB can work with the public to prevent abuse from happening.
If you’re a social media user, you may have noticed an increase in our communications via Facebook and Twitter. This is to keep the public in the loop as far ahead of works as possible. A lot of anger comes from members of the public not being informed about closures and diversion routes and we want to tackle this. We will also be looking into using additional, more informative signage for closures and diversions.
Don’t forget, you can also double check your routes for the day using tools such as roadworks.org to check for closures, diversions and delays. This can help you to plan accordingly and avoid any frustrations.
Issues on the road are not the fault of our workforce. If you want to speak to them about the work going, please do so with respect and in a civil manner.
We will bring the abuse of our workforce to an end.
Think, keep calm and just turn back.