Earning top safety awards in a dangerous business isn't easy.
Alert Traffic Control of Bayfield is one of nine companies in Colorado recently honored for doing just that.
On June 27, owner Susan Shearer attended a ceremony at the governor's mansion in Denver with representatives from eight other businesses, all from the Front Range. They were honored by the workers' compensation division of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment for their efforts in safety training and cost containment.
That award is on top of two Circle of Safety awards from Pinnacol Assurance, the state's largest workmen's compensation provider, that the company received in 2016 and 2017. Alert is among a small number of more than 100,000 companies in the state selected for the Circle of Safety.
Alert provides traffic control for projects throughout the Four Corners, including the night work currently taking place on U.S. Highway 160 as the Colorado Department of Transportation repaves sections of the road. Night work on highways is unusual in this part of the state, Shearer said, saying the last time she remembers it taking place was during construction on Farmington Hill.
To help flaggers and employees remain visible at night, the company brings in huge banks of light known as light plants, and trucks working in the area have lights on the bed and blinking lights installed in the back. Employees having to walk between equipment and lights also have hoops of light on their hardhats known as light halos, she explained.
Shearer said she assumed traffic on the highway would slow down at night, but her supervisors have told her it's steady all night long, although it lightens up from about 2 to 4 a.m.
Alert tries other ways to encourage safety in the workplace, as well. Safety bucks are awarded to every employee who goes for a month without a work-related incident, Shearer explained. At the end of the year, employees can use the safety bucks for rain gear, jackets, or gift cards.
Alert currently has 14 traffic projects in the region, with 50 to 70 employees working on them, depending on the projects' needs at the time. Summer is their busy time of year.
A monthly newsletter to all employees addresses topics such as road safety or wearing the correct work clothing for monsoon season. Each project holds a weekly safety meeting, as well. Project leaders and employees are asked if they have ideas for improving safety and work at the company.
"Do they see something we can do?" said Shearer, who has owned Alert and its sister company, Alert Signs and Equipment, for 23 years. "I am so proud of our employees. They strive to be really safe in everything they do."