After a handful of road workers have been hit and killed on the job in Arkansas over the past few years, the state’s highway and transportation department is working on how to better keep their crews safe.
Department heads from across Arkansas will host the inaugural “Stand Down for Safety Day” at the District Four Headquarters in Barling Tuesday (July 1). Dozens of highway workers will be in attendance to learn more about how to stay safe on the job.
Leaders said the safety day is being held in honor of highway worker Anderson Williams, who was killed while working on a resurfacing job on Highway 79 in Pine Bluff back in 2011.
District Two Engineer David Henning, who was one of Williams’ colleagues and friends, said he is still greatly missed.
“He was very pleasant,” Henning said. “He was always very good in his nature. He always made comments about how much he enjoyed what he did and said he’d wished he’d worked for the department a long time ago. He really enjoyed the work that he did and he got a lot out of his work.”
Henning also went on to say that safety is a crucial aspect of the job.
Thale Keisling, who works at District Four, agreed, saying that the work the crews do out on the roads puts their lives in danger.
“It’s one of the most hazardous environments to work in,” Keisling said. “There’s all of the heavy equipment we’re working on plus the added traffic in the area which is also a concern. It’s really a pretty hazardous environment to try to work in.”
Safety Inspection Officer Carroll Lathan said communication between workers out on the job plays a huge role in keeping all crews safe.
“Everybody’s got to know where everyone else is standing when they’re out at a work zone because we don’t want any confusion or second guesses when we’re out in the work zone,” Lathan said. “If everybody’s in their proper place and everyone’s communicating with each other, then it’s a much safer work environment.”
At the “Stand Down for Safety Day” event, there will be presentations for workers about how to stay safe, as well as hands on demonstrations.
It kicks off at the headquarters in Barling at 10:30 a.m.
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