Safety - from my point of view

By Pete Quinlan

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.




  1. Anonymous3/27/2015

    Very important things to remember about work zone safety - that it involves both the drivers and the workers. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I could not agree more with Pete. When working in the highway right-of-way, one has to maintain situational awareness and take the appropriate precautions to maintain your own safety. Wearing the required high-visibility apparel is one of the best measures anyone working within the highway right-of-way can take. Being seen is so important and you don't want to leave that to chance. I would add that motorists have a big role to play by giving their full attention to the driving task and being extra cautious in work zones.

  3. Anonymous3/27/2015

    I've stood on the side of a busy road maybe a handful of times and I'm sure I had the 'deer-in-the-headlights' look you mention, Pete. Work zones are dangerous places. Since I enjoy living in a place where the highway infrastructure is very good, I need to be sure I'm showing respect to the people who maintain that system when I drive through their work zone. -- Steve Swartz

  4. Anonymous3/27/2015

    Safety is a co-responsibility. No one is alert 100% of the time, driver or worker, this is a human factor and why we must rely on each other. If everyone can think about themself or someone they care about going home safely each and every time I think safety will become paramount in their thoughts and actions. We can continue to learn ways to make work areas safer and to educate about ways to be safer drivers by continuing to work together.

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