The District 3 safety program has undergone major changes in the last three years, leading to a significant reduction in the number of work-related industrial and vehicular accidents. Industrial accidents fell from 28 last year to 18 in the recently completed fiscal year - nearly a 36-percent drop. Vehicular accidents fell from 53 three years ago to just 32 last year, a reduction of 40 percent.
District 3 has historically had a relatively high vehicular accident rate compared to the other districts, so three years ago district leadership set out to approach the problem from a different angle. At the start of FY12 (July 1, 2012), D3 began using a system that assigns points for preventable accidents based on the severity of the incident and negligence on the part of the employee.
In this transition, they moved from accident reviews presided over by the district safety committee, to a review by the district safety officer and the Headquarters Employee Safety and Risk Manager. Another major change in the procedure required the supervisor and employee participate in the review.
"This change in process, along with an increased focus on safety by the folks in the field, has resulted in a rather large drop in our accidents for the last fiscal year," said D3 Safety Officer Eric Copeland.
So far, this year also has been encouraging.
"In FY15, we are on track to have another good year, with just two vehicular and three injury accidents reported to date," Copeland explained in late August.
"Hopefully, the drop in accidents is the beginning of the new normal," he added.
The reality is that working on the highway system is an inherently dangerous job. While the potential to be injured or to damage equipment is always there, safety depends on all of us being ever vigilant for potential safety threats while on the job.
Be safe out there!