For Immediate Release: July 9, 2015
BWC Administrator visits safest ODOT facility in state as agencies team up to keep Ohio’s workers safe
COLUMBUS – Every day, thousands of men and women—private and public employees alike—perform their jobs on or near Ohio’s roads. Their safety, as well as the safety of everyone who drives the roads, is a top priority for the state of Ohio. That’s why the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) are joining together this summer for a series of special events that call attention to what it takes to make sure Ohio workers get home safely, every day.
"Our top priority is always safety," said ODOT District 11 Deputy Director Lloyd MacAdam. "Like BWC, we are concerned about workplace injuries and accidents. These aren't just statistics, but someone's family member – a father or mother, daughter or son."
Today, BWC Administrator Steve Buehrer visited ODOT’s Holmes County garage in Millersburg to learn how its crew earned and maintains the best safety record out of all 88 ODOT county crews across the state. ODOT’s Holmes County workforce has remained medical injury free for over three years – their last reported injury was in February 2012, while their last lost-time injury was nearly seven years ago.
“I applaud these employees for their achievement and for understanding that making safety a priority is one of the most important steps they can take to keeping themselves and their coworkers healthy and productive," said BWC Administrator Buehrer. "Workplace injury claims in Ohio are down by half over the last 10 years in part because of attentive employers and employees that put safety first by utilizing available resources, innovative technology, and knowledge to instill safety at their workplaces."
MacAdam credits Holmes County’s safety success to not only a very caring and conscientious workforce but many safety-related innovations, specialized equipment, and practices the county and district have adopted to keep its employees safe and healthy in a dangerous work environment. “Workplace safety is intentional; it is no accident. Our safety program is designed around three areas: Communicating Safety, Making Safety Visible, and Recognizing Safe Performance. Our employees strive for a safe and injury-free workplace every day by looking out for one another and diligently adhering to safety standards.”
In 2014, more than 5,100 crashes occurred in ODOT work zones—the equivalent of one every two hours. More than 1,000 people were injured and 17 lost their lives. “At ODOT, we work hard to design and maintain the safest possible driving conditions through highway work zones,” said MacAdam. “But accidents can and do happen, so it’s up to all of us to keep those accidents down. We hope drivers remember that a work zone can be a mile of barrels and barricades, or a single vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road. No matter the case, it means someone is out doing their job, and thanks to Ohio’s expanded Move Over law, motorists are required to slow down and move over, so they can do it safely.”
Across the U.S., roadside accidents kill one tow truck driver every six days, 23 highway workers and one law enforcement officer every month and five firefighters every year. In Ohio, thousands of workers build, maintain, serve and protect on our roadways every day—all in the interest of the public.
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