Most of the public doesn't have a clue as to what we do to make sure no one is injured during a day's work. Although there is no guarantee that each day will be accident-free, we know that at least we tried.

I try to keep my distance from the vehicles around me when I drive. I've also always been on the lookout for new and better ways to make our company safer and more dependable.

One morning while driving down the interstate to work, I spotted a competitor's ready-mix truck ahead in the distance. As I cruised past, I noticed the driver was talking on his cell phone, wasn't wearing his seatbelt, and his left turn signal was doing double duty.

I made a mental note and continued on. After checking with the dispatcher for the day's deliveries, I decided it was a good time to randomly check our safety practices. I soon found three men working on a transfer belt to the plant from the stockpile. All three were wearing safety harnesses and glasses: They all passed my first test.

There were three ready-mix trucks waiting to be unloaded at the first job-site I visited. Drivers were all outside their trucks receiving instructions from the foreman on the finishing crew. I noticed two out of three of them had their hard hats and safety glasses on. When the third one saw me, he climbed into the cab and got the necessary safety equipment.

He took my safety advice very well. They passed test number two with qualifications. I was pleased with my tests the rest of the day. For my last stop, I was back at the plant, visiting the shop where we service our equipment. I'm happy to say everyone was following the safety procedures.

Calming concerns

When I arrived at home, I had a message from one of my friends in a small town not too far away. He had been to a town council meeting the previous night where there was a permit request for a new ready-mix plant.

I spent an hour on the phone talking to him about ready-mix plants and the equipment that makes them safe and efficient. I also explained that no matter what safety precautions you implement, there is always the chance something could go wrong.

One of the major problems with the proposed location of this plant was the size of the connector roads the trucks would be using to make deliveries. There were at least three major subdivisions and a large factory coming to the area. It was a good idea to utilize this area for a satellite plant, but I thought the location was a mistake.

A few days later, a city councilman asked me to come to a town meeting and answer some questions about what they should expect if they approved this project. At the meeting, I tried to be as diplomatic as possible while giving as much of an unbiased opinion as possible.

While some residents were excited about the possibility of the additional revenue and jobs, safety was the paramount issue. After a few more meetings, the producer decided to build the plant in another area of the county. Now, the school buses don't have to share the nearby roads with ready-mix trucks, dump trucks, and tankers.

While this was not a clear-cut win for the producer, it shows the concern for safety all communities have. Safety wins the day.