A little healthy competition to get ready for winter

Truck ready for inspectionTo be able to help keep Iowa roads safer, our Iowa DOT crews need to make sure we are well-trained and keep our trucks in top shape.

Drew Zane, who is in charge of safety training for our crews in the southeast part of the state, came up with a fun way to make sure our field forces are focused on pre-trip inspections. With the help of district mechanic Jacob Brotherson, Zane’s idea to have employees compete in a pre-trip inspection competition takes very little resources and could have a big impact on safety.

Completing an inspectionZane said, “Every time we take a truck out on the road, the operator is required to inspect the vehicle to make sure the truck is functioning well. These inspections aren’t much fun, especially in the middle of the night in a snowstorm but doing them correctly is critical to running safe equipment and clearing the roads as best we can.”

He continued, “Last year in Fairfield and this year in Oskaloosa, I invited each of the garages in our district to send a team of two for the competition. On the day of the competition, I set up a truck with 20 things they might find when doing a pre-trip inspection. Each team is brought in one by one and has 15 minutes to go over the truck and find all the defects they can. I score each team and the winning team gets to keep a traveling trophy and wins lunch for their whole shop.”

Nick Duvall and Nick Edge
Nick Duvall and Nick Edge from the Washington garage were the winners of this year’s pre-trip inspection competition.
District 5 competitors
Seven teams of two participated in this year’s pre-trip inspection competition in Southeast Iowa.

A little more than half the garages in our district participated this year, which was better than last year. “The teams that participated also found more of the defects I set up, so that shows me they are taking this seriously. I hope to have even more participation next year,” said Zane.

Jason Fisher, the Iowa DOT’s statewide maintenance training coordinator said, “This is a good way to get back into the swing of things for winter. It’s a fun way to emphasize safety and the importance of these inspections.”

As for the rest of the state, Zane said he’s reached out to the safety training coordinators in each district and hopes that this competition spreads throughout the state in future years. The competition is an innovative and fun way that we are reinforcing our core value of safety first.

This is a fantastic approach, way to go Drew! Positive approaches like this move us from passive to active participants in our learning and encourage critical thinking skills. Reading this made my day.

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