Road worker abuse is on the rise, according to the Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) which is now leading calls for information and action to halt the trend.
The HTMA is encouraging contractors to collate and report all incidents of road worker abuse to determine the full scale of the seemingly growing problem.
The association is the UKâs primary representative of the road maintenance sector and is calling for more information so that the police, the public and the wider industry can be made aware of the growing issue, with action then to be taken to reverse the trend.
The latest figures revealed by the HTMA show that almost 350 abusive incidents were reported when only 10 out of the 23 companies belonging to the association were quizzed on the issue.
267 of those incidents involved face to face threatening, hand gestures, shouting and swearing, but none of those involved physical violence.
However, the others were centred around more shocking assaults including: gun and air rifle shootings; kicking, punching or beating male and female operatives â in one case with baseball bats; and the throwing of items such as screwdrivers or fridges at workers.
The HTMA also stated that the latest reports of road worker abuse have included people being driven at, sexually assaulted, sprayed with ammonia and chased with machetes.
Pat Sheehan is HTMAâs project leader for its task and finish group on road worker abuse and he said: It can be men or women, from all walks of life, that abuse road workers be they passing through or living locally.
Sheehan is also health and safety manager for transport infrastructure business Colas and he added: âIt is easy to concentrate on the extreme stories of abuse, but the reality is that it is often people who are normally law-abiding citizens who boil over when held up in traffic.