Operator error is a leading cause of driving and equipment related claims and injuries. To address this issue and promote safety, the City of Petersburg held it’s first vehicle safety rodeo at the city sports complex late last year.
Safety rodeos involve equipment operators maneuvering through a course or performing actions that require skill and control. For example truck competitions utilize a narrow course with multiple skill stations, including one where the truck operator must back the equipment to a stop against a barricade, getting as close as possible without touching the wall.
Petersburg’s rodeo featured dump trucks, backhoes, tractor mowers, motor graders and transit buses. It was conducted by the city’s division of public works and included the Petersburg Area Transit Division.
Each participant was judged and scores were given based upon the drivers’ speed, accuracy and safety. Participants would lose points for missing or exceeding their target, or tactical errors along the way.
“Overall, I thought this inaugural event was a big success for showcasing the talent base of many city workers,” said VML Insurance Programs Senior Safety Consultant Matt Reid. “I think it also broke ground for the city to move forward on developing future events with greater participation.”
Reid participated in the event as a judge.
“I am proud of the participation and success of our first safety rodeo where our workforce was able to display their talents in a competitive setting,” said Petersburg City Public Works Director Steven Hicks. “Our team members know that a skilled equipment operator is a safe operator. Safety is one of our guiding values and this event focus on safety, fundamental driving and skillful operation of specialized heavy equipment.”
“This is just the start of great things to come. Our safety committee is already planning for next year’s event,” continued Hicks.
”Members who take the initiative to address safety concerns by building programs to address their specific exposures are to be commended,” said VMLIP Director of Safety Services Beth Rosenthal. “Petersburg saw a need and found a non-threatening but competitive way to address it. Annual friendly competition is likely to improve operator skill levels even if it is just to win bragging rights.”
“We applaud Petersburg and others who find effective solutions to risk management problems. Our annual award program has evolved to do just that.”
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