The work of Wisconsin county highway employees is physical, with demanding tasks often wrought with danger. They are in the elements every day on the job, both natural and man made. Filling potholes sometime mere feet from speeding cars or clearing snow in whiteout conditions is just one, highly visible, part of their job. However, the not-so-visible components of their jobs can be just as deadly.
“On a regular basis, county highway employees are dealing with electricity, working in deep trenches, operating chainsaws, and using large equipment such as skid steers and wood chippers,” said John Dirkse, executive vice president of Aegis Corporation, which is the general administrator of the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation (County Mutual). “The County Mutual risk management team partners closely with our member counties and makes over 500 safety visits each year, presenting in highway shops around the state. To reach even more, we host Highway Safety Days annually, which allows us to get in front of large groups of people on critical safety topics.”
In May of 2018, over 1,000 county and municipal highway employees, including close to 30 full highway departments, attended the County Mutual and Community Insurance Corporation’s Highway Safety Days. The event, held at seven separate locations on seven different dates, was a day of safety training and learning for county and municipal employees. In addition to listening to speakers on a variety of relevant topics, the training also qualified for 7.5 hours of Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Part 46 Annual Refresher Training, as well as provided annual hearing tests.
The 2018 Highway Safety Days was held in Cedarburg, Neenah, Crandon, Stevens Point, Platteville, Trego and Wisconsin Dells. The numerous locations allowed for as many departments in surrounding areas as possible to attend. Like all loss control services the County Mutual and Community Insurance Corporation provides, there was no cost to attend for members.
• Miner’s Rights, MSHA and “Rules to Live By, Fatalities”
• Work Zone Safety
• Electrical Safety
• First Aid / CPR & Bloodborne Pathogens
• Excavation & Trenching Awareness
• Personal Protective Equipment
• Safety Culture
• Tire Safety
This year’s speakers were industry experts and included:
• Bob Emmerich, PE, CHST, CET; Safe-Con LLC President
• Various speakers from WE Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, Xcel Energy and Alliant Energy
• Various speakers from Conney Safety
• Bryan Chance, BA, BS, CSSM; Aegis Corporation Risk Management Consultant
• David Coppess, Pomp’s Tire Service
• Vance Forrest, Aegis Corporation Vice President of Risk Management
• Jessica Schroeder, BS, CSRM, Aegis Corporation Risk Management Consultant
“Aegis Corporation, along with the County Mutual and Community Insurance Corporation, are committed to empowering highway employees to keep safety at the forefront of their mind each and every day on the job,” said Dirkse. “We are proud to provide important training services such as the 2018 Highway Safety Days and the sheer number that went through the training demonstrates the commitment of our counties to keep ‘safety first’ and the close working partnership we have with our members.”