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Amey achieves accolades for campaign to respect roadworkers

Press Release   •   Jul 28, 2009 00:00 BST

Public service provider Amey has won a prestigious National Transport Award at a glittering ceremony in London’s Grosvenor Hotel this week (Wed 22 July).  The company was successful in claiming the accolade of Excellence in Marketing and Travel Planning for their campaign to tackle the abuse faced by road workers. 

The judges were impressed by Amey’s innovative approach in working with the media and a range of stakeholders to raise awareness of the industry-wide subject.  The campaign delivered £130,000 of coverage and reports of abuse made by Amey’s road workers fell by 50% in the six months after the campaign was delivered.

The triumph comes on the back of two other prominent awards for the same campaign in November 2008.  Amey was successful at the Scottish Transport Awards (Travel Information and Marketing) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Awards (Best Use of Media Relations).

The campaign was delivered in Scotland where it was identified that nearly 90% of road workers have been abused by road users and almost half of the abuse happens every single day.  Not only does it include name-calling and insults, but physical abuse too.

Roadworker safety is a serious issue for the highway maintenance industry.  Across the UK, 5 roadworkers were killed on the network in 2005, including an Amey colleague on the M8 near Glasgow.  Roadworkers are particularly vulnerable at short term or overnight road works sites.

Keith Sexton HSEQ Director for Amey said;
“At Amey we take the health, safety and environment of our people extremely seriously.  Our organisation is underpinned by a set of five clear values that shape who we are.  One of these values ‘protecting people’ drove Amey to challenge the abuse suffered by our roadworkers and to embark on a campaign to raise awareness and improve driver behaviour.

“We became increasingly aware, via reports from employees, that our workforce was suffering regular and severe abuse from road users while carrying out site operations across the network. Some of the worst cases included a staff-member being shot at and struck with an air-rifle, another being punched in the face and one being hit and knocked out by an orange thrown from a speeding car.  Numerous accounts of name-calling, threats and deliberate acts of driving at speed through puddles to soak workers, for example, were common.”

Amey’s campaign involved a staff survey, the results of which were presented at a press conference for journalists.  A photo opportunity of an office scene was also staged on the live M74 motorway.  The principal aim was to ask motorists just how they’d like to do their job with vehicles rushing past at speeds of up to 70mph and more and to therefore treat roadworkers with much more respect.

The Features Editor of The Evening Times was even turned into a roadworker for an afternoon and he wrote a double-page feature on his experience.  It revealed that he was verbally abused on seven occasions during his short ‘secondment’.

Media coverage was overwhelming with more than 18 minutes of broadcast news across all radio and TV stations in Central and Southern Scotland with a broadcast reach of over 3million listeners / viewers. 

Mel Ewell Chief Executive of Amey commented; “Amey is delighted to have been recognized by the National Transport Awards. We take the issue of safety extremely seriously and the results of the campaign speak for themselves. I am delighted the campaign has made such a big difference to the safety of our workers and the travelling public.”

The exercise proved excellent in raising the profile of the issue, demonstrating to Amey’s employees that their safety and working environment is taken very seriously.  Monitoring of road works sites and interviews with roadworkers revealed a notable shift in behaviour. It was also a uniquely positive chance to demonstrate to our Client our commitment to partnering through our joint delivery with BEAR Scotland, supported by Transport Scotland.

Notes to editors:
• Since April 2001 Amey has managed and maintained the trunk roads and motorways in South West Scotland on behalf of Transport Scotland.  Motorway and trunk road maintenance is a vital service for Scotland’s road users.  Transport Scotland’s operating companies are charged with keeping the network in optimum condition now and for future use which means roadworkers in high-visibility clothing are a necessary presence.

• The results of the Amey staff survey identified:
o 88% reported being abused either physically or verbally by motorists
o Almost 40 per cent of the occurrences happened either daily or weekly
o Nearly one third of the abuse involved further aggression including food, bottles and other missiles being hurled from passing vehicles 
o 77% of incidents at roadworks were a result of driver behaviour

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Amey, Scottish Trunk Roads Press Office, 24hrs, Tel 0141 781 6995