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12-03-24 |

Stefan Ramsden shares his story

Stefan shares his personal story with us in respect of #RespectOurWorkforceWeek.

A few moons ago when I was an operative, I was lone working, manning a lane closure and road closure at night in Newport. The road closure was outside a kebab shop close to some bars and restaurants. I was expecting a certain level of atmosphere, there was young ‘racer boy’ type cars gave me the odd hand gesture throughout the night because they couldn’t do laps around the bars. The main incident came later in the night when a group of males, clearly visibly drunk, started messing with the TM. They were picking up cones pretending they were a trumpet, they were using the 610 arrow from the lane closure part as a frisbee. I left my van and thought I’m on my own, there is several of them, I have to approach this a certain way.

I stayed calm and professional and asked them to leave the equipment alone as those signs and cones keep road users and the workers in the site safe. As you can imagine verbal abuse started and threats then one of them threw a kebab at me, (lucky no garlic sauce went on my PPE!).

The reason I tell this story is because I always think if I was having a bit of a bad day and had approached them a bit more abruptly, without doubt there would have been a violent physical interaction and as my only colleague was on the other end of the closure which was out of site, I was on my own against 5 or 6 drunk males.

Road worker abuse is something we deal with in TM daily. I have been in the industry several years and witnessed hundreds of incidents. As my career has developed from an operative to a Foreman to working in the office and now as a Project Manager, my personal experiences have phased out but as a Manager, I still hear daily about incidents from the operatives that work under me.

There are approximately 170 reports of road worker abuse a month in England and Wales, but I can assure you there are hundreds, if not thousands that don’t get reported. The impact it could leave on people’s mental health is more severe than people think.

I’m glad this has its own spotlight and being talked a lot more over the past 5 years because of the recent surveys. No-one deserves this kind of behaviour while doing their job especially when it’s a job that keeps members of the public safe and those same members of the public are the abusers.

We have been educating people a lot more recently on this subject and on how important it is to follow signage and stick to speed limits etc, but we are still a long way away from where it needs to be. I feel proud to work for a company like GTM that engages with the Stamp It Out campaign and recognises these issues we face!

Report It, We’ll Sort It
We urge our teams who have encountered abuse to report it through the App and our through HSEQ teams.

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