Zero roadworker harm: Ethical and legal challenges
Governments are required to make difficult decisions, requiring policymakers to strike a balance between equity for individuals and the collective good. Specifically with regard to road safety at roadworks, policymakers must find an acceptable balance between cost, mobility and the safety of both road users and workers. Discussion of the ethical and legislative challenges associated with finding such a balance is largely absent from the Australian road safety context. By means of review and reflection relating to literature, policy and legislation, this paper explores aspects of governmental intervention and management of risk through the general lens of road safety ethics and regulation of the road network. More specifically, this paper presents a discussion of the ethical, legislative and economic challenges confronting practitioners required to select positive protection for roadside work zones in Queensland, Australia. The ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ principle is explored for consistency both with legislation governing the management of road infrastructure and with governmental commitments to achieve zero harm. This paper concludes that disconnects exist between requirements for practitioners to manage the road efficiently and requirements for practitioners to provide a workplace that is ‘safe’.
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