End Road Worker Abuse

Protecting the health and well-being of our workforce

One in four roadworkers has suffered mental health issues following verbal or physical abuse from the public

Scotland's road maintenance companies, including Amey, BEAR Connect and Autolink working with the support of Transport Scotland and Traffic Scotland to tackle the issue of road worker abuse.

A recent survey of Scottish road operatives discovered:

  • One in four of staff surveyed said that the abuse they have experienced at work has affected their mental health.
  • Almost one in ten staff said they've been subject to physical abuse in the past year.
  • One in five reported having missiles thrown at them in the past year.
  • Nearly two out of three roadworkers have been verbally abused by passing motorists.

All operating companies are now committed to a zero tolerance approach in response to any further threats to their employees.

The Minister of Transport Graeme Dey has also thrown his support behind the campaign. He said: “The abuse of our roadworkers is completely unacceptable and the results of the survey show just how big a problem it is. No one deserves to face this kind of behaviour while doing their job.

“I find it particularly upsetting to hear of the impact these incidents have on the mental health of staff, many of whom were carrying out essential maintenance of our trunk road network during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Scottish Government fully supports the efforts to raise awareness of these incidents and the call for action to tackle roadworker abuse. I would also like to thank front line staff for their continued hard work and dedication during the pandemic.”

The campaign will move forward with the support of national bodies such as Safer Highways to ensure a countrywide approach to tackling this issue. Joe Docherty, HSEQ Director for Transport Infrastructure at Amey and Vice Chair of Safer Highways, has also released a statement on this issue. He said: “We have spent the last few years seeking to educate the public about the human cost of abusing roadworkers, yet too many members of the public still seem to consider this a victimless crime. This survey demonstrates that more robust measures are required if we are to protect our workforce.

“In future, we will be gathering more evidence of abuse, including the use of road cameras and body cams, and ensuring those responsible are prosecuted to the extent of the law. 

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s support and hope that helps to bring about a positive change in behaviour towards roadworkers.”

You can follow this campaign on our Twitter feed @SWTrunkRoads and please comment if you have seen examples of this type of abuse, or want to share your thoughts on this issue.