|ARE YOU RISKING YOUR LIFE (22/07/2014)|
Rob Flello MP – Are you risking your life by ignoring safety rules?
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 2014. PRESS RELEASE FROM ROB FLELLO, CHAIRMAN OF THE ALL-PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON FREIGHT TRANSPORT AND LABOUR MP FOR STOKE-ON-TRENT SOUTH. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
‘If vehicle recovery operators are forced to risk their lives by ignoring safety rules, let me know’, minister tells MPs’ freight group chairman
Rob Flello responds by urging victims to give him their stories so he can tell the Government, adding: “Your safety must be paramount.”
‘IF VEHICLE recovery operators are forced to risk their lives by ignoring safety rules, let me know’, a transport minister has told an MP.
Rob Flello, Labour chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freight Transport, received the request from Robert Goodwill, Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, after raising concerns on behalf of operators.
Mr Flello told the Minister that FMG, the company employed by the Highways Agency to oversee recovery operations on the strategic road network, had seemingly instructed subcontractors to complete jobs even if their request for lane closures were denied – and to record any incidents as ‘near-misses’.
In his letter of response, Mr Goodwill said “the Highways Agency have confirmed that since the commencement of the Next Generation Vehicle Recovery Contract there have been no reported incidents by FMG of their recovery operators being forced to continue with their recovery activities”.
However the minister also told Mr Flello to “let me know if you do know of specific instances”, a response which has prompted the MP to urge vehicle recovery operators to tell him about any incidents in which their safety has been compromised.
Mr Flello said: “Recovery operators do a sterling job keeping traffic moving on our major roads, but this is work that should not be done if it exposes them to unnecessary risks; their safety must always remain paramount.
“That’s why I would urge those who feel their lives have been put in danger to give me the details so I can then pass them on to Mr Goodwill so he can prevent similar incidents from happening again.”
In his letter, the transport minister said factors such as time, traffic flow and location influenced “whether or not a closure can be applied or whether the attending operator is to be asked to stop work until a closure can be applied.
“Where a closure may result in severe traffic congestion, particularly during peak hour traffic flows, a lane closure may be delayed until such time as traffic flows are lower,” Mr Goodwill said.
The minister said there was evidence of recoveries being delayed until closures could be applied.