“If you think education is expensive—try ignorance.” (Ann Landers)
Why Provide Training?
Why? Consider the cost of an accident if you don’t train folks. For example, what happens if you have a new grader, worth about $350,000, and it is damaged due to mishandling by an operator lacking the proper training? Not only do you have to pay for repair (or replacement) of the grader, but there is also a cost in lost time and production.
Another way training can lower departmental costs is by reducing accident rates, risk (liability), and worker’s compensation premiums. The proper training can even save your employees’ money, because when they take defensive driving classes their personal insurance rates can be reduced.
Keep your workers safe
Construction workers, truck drivers, heavy machine operators, garbage collectors, and logging and tree workers perform some of the most dangerous jobs in the US according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These are all tasks that highway and public works departments are likely to be asked to do. Training can save lives.
This is the first part of a three-part series of Tech Tips that looks at different aspects of training for highway departments. This one discusses training topics that are useful for highway or public works departments. Another looks at organizations that can train you and/or members of your crew. The last Tech Tip talks about the different ways you can get training.
These Tech Tips are based on a workshop, How to Train Your Employees, conducted at the 2015 Highway School.
The following list is limited, with most topics being almost entirely for crews, and does not include administration, supervision, or engineering topics. If you have any suggestions for good training topics, please send them to us so that we can add them to this document.
- Chain saws
- Basic chain saw operation
- Advanced chain saw (buckets and climbing)
- Mechanics and shop personnel—motor repair and setup
- Heavy equipment
- Bucket truck
- Dump trucks
- Low boy and hauling
- (any other equipment your agency owns)
- Call before you dig 811
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Hard hat
- Eye protection
- and many more
- Snow and Ice Training
- Prepping for storms
- Equipment review
- Setting up the snow plow and the truck
- Dry run of snow route prior to winter
- Look for objects and issues—Get them cleaned up before the snow falls!
- Put a map for the route
- Hazardous materials
- First Aid
- Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)
- Defensive Driving
- Labor Relations
- Vocational Training
- Weather-related incidents
- Confined Space