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As is the case for most municipalities, Blainville (located on Montreal’s North Shore) has a public works department. It’s one of the department’s primary tasks – installing appropriate road signage – that recently drew the ire of its workers for a number of reasons.
Read on to find out how the department implemented a solution to bring about less work-related injuries and more safety for its employees – and how this innovation was recognized at the Grands Prix santé et sécurité du travail de la CNESST in 2016.
Estimated reading time: 3 min.
Traditionally, public works employees relied on a truck’s bin to carry signage to and from the installation site. While carrying out the task this way may seem practical, it was anything but.
We realized there was a high risk of injury with our old way of doing things.
Patrick Matte – City aqueduct employee
For starters, transporting signs by truck wasn’t ergonomic at all – it substantially increased the risk of injuries to the knees, back, and head in addition to causing cuts and pinched fingers. On-the-job injuries can not only result in lost productivity but are costly with regards to worker compensation payouts.
The Blainville public works department opted to explore better ways to streamline efficiency and keep its 85 employees safe.
To reduce the risk of falls and make material handling easier, the public works department decided to switch from a truck bin to a low-to-the-ground trailer adapted to signage equipment needs. Then, a customized handling system made of tubes and connectors was set up in the trailer to create storage sections.
The modular system is built in such a way that the signage material can be stored efficiently as well as be transported and handled more safely and ergonomically. This simple solution enables workers to access the road signs easily and makes inventory much more manageable.
The risk of on-the-job accidents is therefore considerably reduced.
This new work method brought about by the implementation of the tube and joint connectors made the road workers’ tasks much easier to carry out. The personalized storage compartments drastically reduced the risk of injuries and falls. Workers can now install signage in roadwork locations without worrying about hurting themselves.
Oh, and another perk: employee job satisfaction increased as they were at the heart of the new structures required for the project. This was a win-win for both the city and for the department workers.
Only after implementing the Flexpipe system did the public works department truly realize what a difference good design makes.
We are convinced that this project could be used in other Quebec municipalities
Jocelyn Tremblay – Blainville’s public works Director
Involving your employees in change processes is a winning proposition for any business. It strengthens your employees’ sense of belonging and lessens their resistance to change. There’s no doubt about it, improving safety translates into increased worker productivity.
You might even be surprised by the results such actions can bring about!