Manitoba government implements safety legislation for EMS workers

"The message this legislation sends to motorists is a positive and necessary one: give us room to work and do your part to ensure that health and safety is the first priority on our roads and highways." - Wayne Chacun, MGEU/NUPGE paramedic.

Winnipeg (06 Dec. 2012) - The Manitoba Government hopes a new initiative to slow motorists when passing emergency or other designated vehicles stopped or working on a roadway will prevent future unnecessary injuries and deaths.

The proposed new rules will see speed limits imposed when passing emergency responders or road-side workers (including tow-trucks) who have stopped or are working on the highway, with their beacons flashing. The limits will be 40 km/h on highways where there is a normal speed limit of less than 79 km/h and 60km/h on highways where the normal limit is 80 km/h or more.

The Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, Steve Ashton, says "emergency workers must be able to do their jobs without fear of being hit by a speeding vehicle. It is tragic when police, paramedics, firefighters or other emergency workers are hurt or killed while helping injured people at an accident scene or when assisting stranded motorists on the roadside."

The new rules will also require drivers to slow down and proceed with caution when approaching an emergency or designated vehicle working on either side of the highway, unless it is a divided highway. Current rules require motorists to proceed with caution when approaching emergency vehicles on their side of a highway, but no actual reduced speed is enforced.

Wayne Chacun, a member of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) who works as a paramedic, feels this is a much-needed step to ensure the safety of all workers on our highways. “I can tell you that when we’re on-scene of a medical emergency, our primary focus is on taking action to ensure patients are getting the care they need. The message this legislation sends to motorists is a positive and necessary one: give us room to work and do your part to ensure that health and safety is the first priority on our roads and highways."

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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