Locator Safety & Appreciation Week (LSAW) is a celebration of utility locators’ hard work and an acknowledgment of the hazards they face every day in the field. Locators play crucial and often underappreciated roles in protecting the public and our underground infrastructure. Take some time this week to thank a locator in your life! We’ll be sharing locator safety content throughout the week to spread awareness of the difficult work they perform. Learn more about LSAW and how to participate at locatorsafety.com.
Locator Safety Hazard: Time on the Road
Locators work wherever their services are needed, which often means long hours of travel in between job sites. In fact, the majority of a locator’s time is spent behind the wheel. For that reason, it’s immensely important to know and to practice safe driving procedures. Life changing and life ending accidents are only one small mistake or absent-minded moment away. Locators can’t control every aspect of their drive, certainly not other drivers’ behavior, but these tips ensure that they control as much as possible for the sake of their own safety.
Cell phones are more distracting than ever before, and when a driver lets their attention drift from the road they put themselves and everyone else around them at risk. Always enter navigation information before operating the vehicle and study the route to avoid complete reliance on the device. Phones should be mounted on the dash, not obstructing the windshield or tossed on the lap. Interaction with the device should be completely avoided and calls, if received, should be taken hands-free.
Wear a Seatbelt
The national average for seat belt use sits around 89% according to The National Safety Council. This relatively high rate has resulted in a tremendous reduction in vehicular injuries and deaths due to accidents in the United States. Seat belts save lives, plain and simple.
Take Breaks to Stretch
Locators keep tight schedules and work hard to maintain them. That being said, drivers should be mindful to take a break every two hours to stretch their bodies and assess their physical and mental wellness to operate the vehicle. Prolonged sitting can put stress on the back and cause tightness in the hips that cascades through the rest of the body. Simple stretches or a short walk can keep drivers fresh, alert, and safe.
Be Well Rested
Sleep deprivation robs drivers of reflexes and reason. According to the CDC, 1 in 25 adult drivers (aged 18 and older) report having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days. Even worse, The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that “drowsy driving” was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013 alone. Drivers can mitigate risk by getting enough sleep at night, avoiding vehicle operation while on medication that can cause drowsiness, and communicating any sleep disorders with employers and coworkers.