The Skid Truck before (left) and after (right) the safety rail installation

Pallister’s safety railing for skid truck safeguards department employees       

Trek Pallister, A Transportation Tech. Sr. in ITD’s Operations, created a safety railing to enhance the safety of employees filling the 1,000-gallon water tank (daily during friction testing) or performing maintenance while atop the unit, which stands 6.5 feet tall.

The friction-testing unit, or Skid Truck, is used to test the roughness of state highways and interstates statewide. Crews pulling a highly specialized trailer with a large international truck lock up one of the tires (typically the left) for a couple seconds while water is applied just in front of the tire simultaneously. This procedure simulates wet road conditions. Pavement engineers use the data to calculate what is needed to improve surface friction.

Pallister (pictured right) developed a strong interest in safety at ITD and before that in construction, noticed a possible safety concern on the Friction Testing Unit and immediately began researching a solution. Pallister and a committee of Jack Long, Caleb Lakey and Randy Danner ultimately decided that a permanent safety railing was the best solution.

Pallister designed fall protection around the perimeter of the truck bed, an innovation has the potential to save significant money for the department.

“There have not been any near misses since I have been on board to my knowledge, but it just takes one fall, one injury, to make the headlines,” Pallister explained. “My thought was to prevent the fall before it happened.”

According to a 2005 National Safety Council study, a work-related injury resulted in an average loss of approximately $38,000 including wages, productivity loss and medical expenses. It also results in another $1,000 in training, equipment and operation expenses every year.

Published 05-19-17