HONORING our Locate Technicians

The most fulfilled people in the world are those who do something that inspires them, fills them with enthusiasm, and makes a difference in some way. This “something” in your life doesn’t necessarily have to be your day job but, since you spend so much time there, it sure helps when it is.

For most, going to work day in and day out can become a grind. In fact, according to a 2016 Gallup poll, 70% of Americans hate their jobs – and America rates higher than most of the world! For the lucky ones who wake up every day excited to start their day and impact other lives, their jobs can give them a deep sense of purpose and fulfillment.

For those of us in the damage prevention industry, my guess is there is a much higher percentage of people who get this “something” at their day job. When your ultimate purpose is to save lives, it adds value to the work you do.

Locate technicians are no exception. They do an extremely important job, working long hours, in all kinds of weather, in every terrain, often with minimal training, solving the puzzle of our buried infrastructure. It isn’t an easy job, and doesn’t always get the respect it deserves, so why do these unsung heroes keep showing up day after day? I believe it is because they know that what they do has a serious impact on the health and safety of our buried utilities, our communities and, ultimately, our lives.

Locator Safety Awareness Week (LSAW), held the last full week of April, just ended. We developed this program, endorsed by Nulca, to raise awareness and appreciation for the important role locators play within the industry. I hope you took the time to not only provide the locators in your company information to help them stay safe, but also took the time to let them know you value the work they do and you appreciate their commitment to safety.

If time got away from you, and you missed it, it’s not too late! Here are just a few things you can do throughout the year to show locators you value their unique skills:

• PRAISE. While “thank you” are good words everyone wants to hear, providing them with specific examples on how their job made a difference will boost their confidence and increase morale.

• SERVE. While companies need to focus on the bottom line, making money isn’t going to motivate every employee. Studies show that being of service and performing acts of kindness brings happiness and a sense of fulfillment. Help your locators make the connection between what they do and the lives they save.

• TALK. Reinforce how important their role is and create an avenue for them to share ideas on how they can be more effective in preventing damage to the facilities they protect and injury to the people who live and work near them.

• PLAY. All work and no play is no fun. Reward your locators for a job well done. A company picnic, donuts at the weekly safety meeting, an internal contest, sometimes just a pat on the back can improve morale and increase productivity.

Visit locatorsafety.com for more free tools and tips on ways to show your appreciation for these important industry resources. Without locators, all our jobs would be harder and, quite frankly, more dangerous. Be sure to take the time to show your appreciation.

We would like to know what you did for your locators during Locator Safety Awareness Week. Send your stories and pictures to info@emailir.com. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing your story in the next issue of dp-pro!

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