ITD’s first safety stand down meant to push up employee safety         

On August 1, ITD held its very first safety stand-down at the call of our new Chief Operations Officer, Travis McGrath (pictured at right).

It was an opportunity to have all ITD Division of Highways employees break from their normal business routine to spend some time discussing several safety concerns impacting our fellow co-workers.

The specific call for this safety stand-down was based on three incidents in which people were hurt or almost hurt over a 3-week period. The first incident involved an employee conducting field testing, who was almost hit by a bucket loader operated by a contractor. Fortunately, our employee was situationally aware and moved just in time to avoid being hit.

In the second incident, an employee was driving a dump truck along a highway shoulder, placing fill material onto the shoulder embankment. The truck was apparently far enough down the side slope that when the dump bed was raised, the truck tipped over. The employee suffered multiple broken ribs and a punctured lung despite properly wearing a seatbelt.

The third incident involved two employees in an ITD pickup pulled onto a highway shoulder.

They then conducted a U-turn across traffic to the far lane. The truck was side-swiped by a semi-truck traveling in that far lane. Both employees were taken to the hospital and eventually released. 

In each of these situations, “we missed having a very serious outcome,” Travis explained. “The safety stand-down was intended to be a pause in organizational activities in order to reflect on these accidents, with the goal of preventing future reoccurrences."

"A safety stand-down is just one element of our plans for employee-focused health and safety and the department’s risk management," Travis explained. “This type of activity does not always have to be reactive and in many cases it can be a proactive tool.”

After McGrath addressed the group as a whole, smaller groups across the state wrapped up the 15 to-20 minute address by having a safety discussion of their own among their peers.

With safety a top priority for all of us here at ITD, Travis was sure to mention that, “an employee focused safety culture” is exactly what should be on everyone’s mind.


The author (at right):




Published 09-15-17