Municipal Workers in One Wisconsin Village Prep for Winter Tasks with Facts and Fun
Clearing roadways of snow and ice. Removing downed trees. Repairing damaged power lines. All these duties and more often come with the territory when you’re a municipal worker during the winter season.
For municipal workers in the village of DeForest, Wis., they understand the importance of preparing for winter weather. In early November, DeForest public works employees met to review procedures for handling inclement weather as well as answer questions about how to handle certain situations. Discussion points included:
- Requesting employees develop a plan before each winter storm.
- Requiring employees to document each storm, including pavement temperatures, snow plowing efforts and amount of salt used.
- Identifying specific streets and areas that should be pre-treated before a storm arrives, such as major intersections, school zones and hills.
- Highlighting the need to inspect snow plow trucks before each use as well as requiring employees to wear high visibility clothing when plowing.
- Instructing employees to let motorists pass them if they tailgating or driving unsafely.
- Providing a variety of safety tips on topics, such as defensive driving, snow blower safety, proper body mechanics when shoveling and the need to wear seat belts in plow trucks.
These are great efforts that all municipalities should consider adopting when prepping for winter weather. But DeForest employees had one more event planned to keep winter safety top of mind: a rodeo-like competition with five events to test employees’ knowledge of vehicle safety and operation as well as their ability to navigate obstacles and drive safely. They included:
- Bobcat Basketball (pictured), where employees had to use a Bobcat to pick up a basketball from the ground and then make a basket in a barrel.
- Road Kill Toss, which had employees see who could use a pitchfork to pick up and toss a water soaked stuffed animal the furthest.
- Three different obstacle courses for snow plows, street sweepers and front loaders with the goal of navigating each course in the quickest time and knocking over the fewest obstacles.
Kudos to the village of DeForest public works employees for showing how prepping for winter tasks can not only be educational, but fun as well!
For more information on helping municipal workers prepare for winter tasks and potentially avoid injuries, visit this website from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Topics covered on the site include:
- Cold stress, including frostbite, hypothermia and trench foot
- Preparedness, including how to dress properly and adopt safe work practices
- Other assorted hazards and precautions
And don’t forget that United Heartland’s WalkSafe campaign provides our customers a wealth of resources and tools to help their employees avoid slips and falls on snow and ice.