“It takes one second to not be in the moment while driving to change someone’s life forever.”
Shari Ebidon, Gas Distribution Field Leader III, can’t express enough the importance of roadside safety. Working in the field for 16 years, Ebidon is supportive of the Slow Down, Go Around campaign to protect her crews, as well as employees statewide.
“You can never have enough roadway protection,” she explains. “Sometimes we have to rely on the public to look out for us. We can’t always foresee an accident from passing traffic.”
Since the most recent loss of one of our own, Lineworker Jeff Creel in 2012, employees, lawmakers and family members of Creel have come together to help protect utility workers by:
- Recognizing May 22 as Michigan Roadside Safety Awareness Day
- Creating the Slow Down, Go Around campaign to keep employees safe by adding roadway protection
- Doubling state fees and criminal penalties for injuring or killing anyone in a work construction zone
Safety teams provided many ideas for roadside workers, including flares that strobe and can be worn on belts at night. Ebidon ordered the flares for every gas service employee at the Howell Service Center, explaining the more attention workers can draw to themselves, the safer crews are going to be.
“When the company lost an employee, it felt like losing a family member,” said Ebidon. “We want all employees to go home as safely as they came to work that morning.”
Our workers do many things to protect themselves and ensure their safety, including:
- Set up temporary traffic control, including signs and cones
- Wear reflective vests visible day and night, along with hard hats
- Have high-visibility flashing lights on all vehicles
- Exercise caution when around trucks and approaching roads
- Complete safety assessments at every job site