Craig Cooper's editorial (Northern Advocate February 4, 2017 - "Window Washers A Blight On Region") expressed his concerns about the plague of windscreen washers "begging" at SH1 intersections.
He concluded with the statement "We need to come up with some means of stopping them, before one of them gets run over."
I understand the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is considering a bylaw, to help deal with this problem, but struggle to understand why NZTA, Work Safe New Zealand (WSNZ), and the Traffic Police have let this stupid, disruptive practice continue.
WSNZ are required to ensure all workers take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure they do not expose themselves and the public to undue risks.
These self-employed washers are taking money for their 'work'.
WSNZ must ensure the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2105 (HSWA) are rigidly applied.
They define a "PCUB - Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking", (inter alia), as "A self-employed person operating their own business".
NZTA's own document, "Code of Practice for Working on the Road" (CoPTTM), has a sub section relating to "Temporary Traffic Management" (TTM), which was recently updated to comply with the HSWA, 2015.
One of its basic principles states, "TTM must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the provision and maintenance of safe systems of work for on road activities for road workers and road users".
The Code requires all road workers to wear high visibility garments, submit a "Traffic Management Plan (TMP) for approval, prior to commencing work and provide adequate warning signs, traffic cones, etc".
Are the NZ Polices' actions, in photographing the washers and inviting the motoring public to lay complaints really necessary, for them to take action?
The CoPTTM clearly states if NZTA, New Zealand Police or other agency, identified in the HSWA, has decided not to take action, then a private prosecution is possible.
Logically, the reverse must apply, so these agencies appear to have authority to take enforcement action.
If I was to arrive at a SH1 intersection, with a bunch of old Anglo Saxon pensioners, and start coercing motorists into paying to have their windscreens washed, it would be a case of who got to us first - the washer bosses, Work Safe NZ, or the Traffic Police. You can bet we wouldn't be there long!
Spurious arguments suggesting out of work washers will go around mugging old ladies and burgling houses are emotional clap trap and must be weighed against the disruption to all road users, plus on-street safety.
Deliberately pushing pedestrian call buttons, to delay traffic from proceeding, mingling in groups on traffic islands, dancing in and out of the traffic and aggressively frightening lone female drivers, are not conducive to achieving a safe environment.
I spent most of my working life involved in road and traffic engineering, and had my own traffic signal company for 14 years.
I was regularly exposed to the hazards of working on the road, so am acutely aware of the potential dangers.
It appears, there is already adequate provision, within the existing Codes of Practice, Traffic Regulations and Work Safety legislation, for the Authorities to take action.
If I am wrong and all the rules are toothless, immediate proactive action is required before "one of them gets run over" and killed, and some poor sucker is charged with manslaughter.
NZTA needs to reclaim their intersections now because they leave themselves liable to prosecution, for not taking action to address the problem, should an accident occur.