The 2014 Summer Safety Challenge is over and the results are mixed.
The Safety Challenge is an initiative to get employees thinking more about safety in an effort to reduce the number of incidents on the job.
Between May and August, more than 500 workers in the district’s 31 maintenance organization units competed to see which building had the safest employees.
Four safety categories were tracked: backing incidents, overhead incidents (i.e., trees, power lines, etc.), injuries (incidents requiring medical attention) and at-fault fleet incidents. The goal was zero in each of those categories.
District Safety and Health Manager Gary McLarry said those areas were chosen because they have the highest potential for serious injury or even death.
“We were trying to bring attention to various areas where we’ve seen a significant number of incidents or a severity issue,” said McLarry.
For example, a couple of years ago the district had 22 backing incidents.
The good news is overall the district had fewer injury incidents compared to last year. There were six injuries during the summer of 2014 compared to 15 in 2013.
But “we had a very difficult last six weeks of the Summer Challenge,” said District Maintenance Engineer Michael Middleton.
During the last month and a half of the challenge, maintenance employees were involved in five at-fault incidents, four backing incidents and two overhead incidents.
“We do not have every employee’s attention,” Middleton said, “as shown by the decisions that a few employees made that resulted in these incidents.”
“That’s disappointing,” he added. “We have many, many individuals that are doing a great job!”
As an incentive during the challenge, workers in a maintenance organization unit who went all four months without an incident will receive a barbecue lunch cooked for them, provided and prepared by the District Maintenance Leadership Team.
Seventeen of 31 maintenance organization units qualified for the lunch. That’s about 300 employees.
If a Maintenance Superintendent’s area, made up of 4-6 buildings, went the entire four months without an incident, each building would get one of the new dump trucks purchased by the district to be delivered later this year.
Southwest Area Maintenance Superintendent Richard Arnall’s shops were the only ones to qualify for the one of the new trucks.
Despite the improvement in the number of injury incidents, Middleton is not satisfied. He says communication is the key.
“We place a very heavy emphasis on ‘what’ we are doing,” he said. “We must be better at ‘how’ are we going to be safe and communicate.”