ITD Boot program continues focus
on employees and their safety

ITD recently unveiled a program to provide eligible employees with work boots. The employee safety footwear program, aka the Boot program, is one element of the department's recent focus on employees and employee safety.

"ITD staff frequently work in harsh and dangerous environments," said ITD buyer Jacqueline Leech. "Protective safety footwear is an area that was identified as being a high priority."

VIDEO: Here's Leech explaining the Boots program.

ITD decided that safety footwear should be provided to eligible employees. Through the program, employees are authorized to select new footwear valued at up to $200 from a list of approved options.

ITD's commitment to employee safety identified a need to better prevent injuries and reduce the severity of injuries that may occur.

In a typical solicitation, specifications are developed, quantities are determined, and a draft solicitation is created. In this case, however, the specifications would be endless, as each of the 1,500+ staff members wear different sizes and have different protective safety footwear needs. For this reason, ITD Purchasing Agent Jacque Leech and HQ buyer Denise Cooley approached the Division of Purchasing (DOP) with this unique scenario. DOP recommended and authorized an exemption based off of the impracticality of specifying individual safety needs and the need for employees to select their own safety footwear. This allowed the Procurement team to directly contract with two vendors to provide footwear to ITD staff. These contracts provide timely service and quality boots at a reasonable price.

The next step was to determine what type of protective footwear each staff member qualified for. A list of job titles and footwear needed for each job title was developed and was provided to the districts.

The approved vendors visited the districts so employees would not be forced to drive somewhere for a fitting. The program has now been deployed in all districts and Headquarters with great fanfare.

In District 4, maintenance foremen presented a signed plaque to Chief Operations Officer Travis McGrath to show their appreciation for the continued focus on employee safety. In District 1, which has successfully completed round one of the boot deployment, the story also is inspirational.

District 1 Business Operations Manager Drue Hatfield recalled the story of a TTO who had just received his boots and was eager to put them on.

"I could see his excitement and appreciation. He sat there for a moment, checking out his new boots and then came over to me. With tears in his eyes, he expressed his gratitude. He begged me to tell whoever made this happen 'thank you' from the bottom of his heart because he cannot afford boots like this. His co-worker watching also got emotional and expressed his appreciation."

"So please know how much this program means to our employees! The hard work, dedication, and perseverance of those responsible for the program doesn't go unnoticed."

Published 01-11-19