Columbia County PennDOT employees reach safety milestone

On Jan. 1, the state Department of Transportation’s Columbia County maintenance employees achieved a major safety milestone – 1,000 days without having a disabling or lost-time injury.

The county takes a proactive approach to all of its operations, and begins every plan with a safety review. All of the leadership team members attend the monthly safety meeting to ensure the employees’ concerns are reviewed and addressed in a timely manner.

The leadership team has invested a lot of time and effort to foster a “24/7 Safety Culture” – the employees know what is expected and are also comfortable in approaching the leaders with any concerns.

According to PennDOT, the employees reached the goal “by always looking out for each other.”

Experienced employees work with newer employees as mentors, the department said, are willing to ask for a spotter and “know what is expected.”

All of the first-aid kits and fire extinguishers in the county are checked and maintained by the safety committee each month. This makes it quick and easy to have the kits updated and prepared and involves all of the employees.

The safety committee also created the initiative, “To Be Seen.” Each member of the committee has a newer safety vest and exchanges it with employees in the field, as needed, replacing worn-out, faded or outdated vests on the spot.

Columbia County PennDOT employees now have their sights set on the next safety goal, reaching 1,500 days without a disabling or lost-time accident.

PennDOT has a complement of 102 employees in Columbia County.

“Given the nature of PennDOT’s work to provide safe public roadways in all types of weather, reaching 1,000 days without a disabling (or) lost-time accident is an outstanding achievement,” said Eric High, assistant district executive for maintenance.