Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A different job, a different safety plan every day

By Andrea E. Petrich

When I dropped into our Mount Vernon maintenance yard to talk to Lee Haugstad, he and "Safety" Sue Tellesbo – one of our safety officers – were busy checking the condition and taking inventory of our fall equipment and gear that the teams use when they're on our road warrior.
Lee Haughstad and safety officer Sue Tellesbo check and inventory equipment prior to heading out to a job.

On our what?
The road warrior is a multi-use truck that lets our teams hook into gear and drop barrels more efficiently to create traffic control in our work zones. Once the barriers are set up, the road warrior is used as an additional level of protection for crews, with a rear end that folds down to create a crash pad in case a driver doesn't see the work zone.
A maintenance technician for more than 12 years, Lee Haughstad works with a variety of safety equipment,
including our road warrior.

A job like this is why Lee loves his work as a maintenance technician. It has variety and is different every day. If he's not checking gear he might be running an excavator to clear a slide along SR 9 or working to repair crash-damaged cable barrier along I-5.

Before Lee and his team head out to start work for the day they make sure they are prepared by completing pre-work safety plans and discussing possible scenarios they could encounter.

"Everybody knows their job before leaving the maintenance yard," he said. "Hazards of the job are always there, so we need to do what we can to prepare. Everybody wants to go home to our families at the end of each shift."

Pre-work safety plans are a great way to prepare for the work. Each member of the team knows what role they'll be playing, what equipment they need to bring and the possible risks and ways out of them.

Lee has worked for WSDOT for a dozen years and after a stint in Monroe, he's now part of our Mount Vernon team where the roads he helps keep safe are the roads he and his family have driven for years. He was raised in Arlington, went to Lakewood High School and still calls the city home.
Lee enjoys hiking with his family near their home in Arlington.

When Lee isn't keeping busy at work, you might find him cheering on his son, Charlie, during an ATV race all around Washington or hiking with his girlfriend, Tammy, at some of the many outdoor areas just outside his back door.
In his free time, Lee cheers on his son Charlie during ATV races.

Lee helps keep his colleagues safe during their shifts, and roads safe for you and me, so thanks for slowing down when you see orange barrels on the road – it might be Lee out there.