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Distracted and speeding drivers. Unpredictable road conditions and Wisconsin weather. All these factors make the job of our county highway workers dangerous and as history has shown, even deadly.
To keep these vital county employees safer on the job and able to get home to their own families each night, the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation (County Mutual), led by the Aegis Corporation Risk Management Team, makes over 500 on-site visits a year to member highway shops to constantly train on safety issues. Topics range from proper safety inspections of equipment to confined space training to chainsaw safety.
Effective January of 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has released their new flagging requirements for county employees doing work on our state highway system. The requirements of the training are found in the updated WisDOT publication, Wisconsin Flagging Handbook.
In anticipation of the new requirements, Aegis Corporation Risk Management staff attended one of WisDOT’s five statewide certification training sessions in October of 2019, where a representative from each county was invited to attend to learn about the new safety standards and bring them back to their county. These “train the trainer” sessions included attendance by Aegis Corporation Risk Management staff of Jodi Traas and Jessica Schroeder.
Since attending, Jodi, Jessica and Seth Johnson have gone back to member counties to train them on the new flagging requirements, with many more sessions planned in the months ahead.
“We are excited to assist our counties in providing WisDOT’s Flagging Training to our members,” said Jodi Traas, Senior Risk Management Consultant with Aegis Corporation, which is the general administrator of the County Mutual. “Flagging is an incredibly important and dangerous job, be it in a construction zone or in an emergency situation. These new standards go a long way in the consistent execution of their job.”
According to Emily Silverson, PE, PTOE, an onsite consultant for of WisDOT’s Bureau of Traffic Operations, safety for flaggers, county crews and drivers was the top reason for the updated requirements.
“Safety is our number one priority in releasing the revised Wisconsin Flaggers Handbook and the updated certification requirements,” said Emily “Our flaggers are the first person drivers come upon and their job is critical, important for both the safety of the drivers and for the crew working.”
In the months ahead, the County Mutual plans to continue to work with counties to ensure they are up-to-date on the new flagging requirements.
“The feedback we have gotten thus far from our members has been outstanding regarding this training,” said Jessica Schroeder, Aegis Corporation Risk Management Consultant. “Our county highway crews are incredibly dedicated to keeping Wisconsin roadways safe for drivers and for themselves. The flagger training is one more tool for them to safely execute their jobs.”
An electronic version of the Wisconsin Flagging Handbook can be found here.
For questions about the Flagging Handbook, please email WisDOT at DOTDTSDFlaggerCertification@dot.wi.gov.
To schedule a training session for your County Mutual member county, please contact Aegis Corporation at 800.236.6885.