“We’re not going to shut up about this” – TBF Traffic supports campaign against abuse of public-facing workers

Press release

TBF Traffic is backing a campaign aimed at eradicating abuse of public-facing workers, including those that work on the public highway. What’s the problem, and what measures can be taken?

TBF Traffic is set to support the first country-wide Respect Our Workforce week, taking place 11-15 March as part of the Think Respect campaign.

The campaign helps raise awareness of the abuse faced by public-facing workers, from retail staff to roadworkers.

According to Think Respect (the public campaign run by Stamp it Out), 60% of all roadworkers and other people working on the public highway face abuse on a daily basis. “Over the last 12 months, Stamp it Out have seen over 2,300 incidents of abuse recorded towards those who work on our roads and provide support services,” the organisation said in a recent release.

These incidents affect mental health and, often, physical safety. TBF Traffic is a traffic management firm – its operatives have faced serious physical assaults, including two in recent months. Elsewhere in the country, members of the public have attacked roadworkers with cars, baseball bats, and even an electric handsaw.

Peter Ryland, TBF Traffic Business Development Manager, said:

“While we take every measure to seek justice, it’s unacceptable that this happens at all.

“I’ve worked in the industry for decades and it has ever been the case that roadworkers are subject to everything from verbal abuse, to hurled bottles of urine, to being punched in the face.

“Stamping out the abuse of public-facing workers isn’t just a case of introducing new legislation, but of actually using existing legislation.

“We’re not going to shut up about this. It shouldn’t be the ‘norm’ for operatives to deal with the constant threat of abuse. Roadworker abuse is not acceptable. Full stop.”

Ben Licence

Ben Licence, TBF Traffic Health & Safety Advisor, said:

“I unfortunately see this dreadful behaviour of abuse against traffic operatives too often – it needs to stop!

“The abuse not only threatens an operative’s physical and mental well-being, but also compromises the safety of our roads, putting everyone in danger.”

Darren Clark, TBF Traffic Operations Director, said:

“Abusing roadworkers benefits nobody. It doesn’t make traffic move faster – quite the opposite – and it does serious harm to people trying to earn an honest living. Remember that the people you see working on the roads are parents, sons, daughters, husbands and wives.

“And if that’s not enough, remember that as reporting of these incidents increases, and bodycams become the norm, people who abuse roadworkers are much more likely to face serious consequences for their actions.”

Measures against abuse

TBF Traffic, which has long supported the drive against roadworker abuse, will continue to strive to stop roadworker abuse, not only during Respect Our Workforce week but moving forward.

Measures TBF has taken and recommends include:

  • Body cameras – all operatives wear bodycams on every job
  • CCTV – Introduce security cameras on suitable sites
  • Conflict resolution training – Train staff in diffusing difficult situations
  • Supporting prosecution – In the event of abuse, support staff 100%, getting the police involved and backing the prosecution of offenders
  • Continuing the conversation – Keep highlighting this issue to clients, suppliers, and the public

Respect Our Workforce Week

Respect Our Workforce week aims to empower the workforce and influence a change of attitudes towards public-facing workers.

To kick this off, Think Respect is working with National Highways, who operate and maintain the motorway network in England, to talk to the public in four locations; Norwich, Cambridge, Bedford and Peterborough.

Kevin Robinson, founder and Campaign Director of Stamp It Out and Think Respect, said:

“Respect Our Workforce week marks a vital point in this campaign. But as we look back on a successful 12 months, there is still much work to do towards our aim of eradicating abuse of all public-facing workers including road workers. It is not acceptable to abuse a doctor, nurse, teacher so why should those working in a public facing role accept this too?”

Notes to editors

  • Think Respect is the public-facing campaign run by Stamp It Out, which is an industry-wide programme designed to make abuse of the workforce publicly unacceptable.

  • “Over the last 12 months Stamp it Out has seen over 2,300 incidents of abuse recorded towards those who work on our roads and provide support services. Given that under-reporting is rife across our sector, the organisation estimate that the scale of the issue is actually significantly higher.” – Stamp It Out

  • TBF Traffic, formerly TMS, is a traffic management company. Since its founding in 2001, it has consistently worked with big players in the construction and utility sectors.

  • Representatives of TBF can speak authoritatively on matters relating to traffic and traffic management, as well as the issues affecting roadworkers.

  • TBF Traffic has depots in Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, and Leicestershire. It operates across East Anglia and the East Midlands.

  • Media contact: Francine Carrel, content manager | francine.carrel@btsgroupuk.com | 07584 311422