Safety is the upmost priority on every job. A serious workplace injury or death changes lives forever. Not just for the workplace, but for families, friends, communities, and coworkers too. Human loss and suffering is immeasurable. No monetary value can be put on your employee’s life.
If someone were to ask you why safety is important, how would you respond? You may “know” that it’s important to keep safety in mind as you go about your daily work, but how would you explain the reasons why this is the case? Here is something to think about.
Humans become tolerable to their environment over a period of time. When I am on a heavy highway job, I am tolerable and comfortable with traffic flying by at 80 mph. I can go about my work and think nothing of it.
When someone new comes out to the job, such as an inspector or contractor, and an 18-wheeler passes by at 75 mph, I can for sure expect a “deer in the headlight look!” Everyone needs to pay attention to what they are doing and watch their surroundings. Every year you hear on the news where a contractor or KDOT worker was struck by a vehicle and killed. These accidents can be prevented.
Besides paying attention to your work environment, highway workers need to make sure they have the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Can I be seen by motorist? A worker needs to be sure his vest is bright and in good condition.
As the superintendent on the job, my ultimate goal is to make sure everyone goes home at night to see their families.
Pete Quinlan is with Bettis Asphalt & Construction, Inc.