Guest Blogger: Brynnly Schwartz, Senior Communications Specialist, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania & Maryland
Safety is the core value and highest priority for the natural gas distribution and transmission industry. AGA and its member companies are committed to promoting positive safety cultures among their employees, including contractors and supplies. As part of this commitment, employees are trained to perform a 360° walk-around each time they are about to move their vehicle. During this safety procedure, a utility worker walks in a complete circle around the vehicle to ensure all equipment and materials are in the proper place, and the areas beneath and surrounding the vehicle are clear and stable.
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Construction Leader John Welch always knew the important safety benefits to performing a 360° walk-around, but what he didn’t know was how it could pay off in monetary terms.
While performing daily 360° walk-arounds over the years, John noticed the quantity of spare change left on the ground and decided to start collecting it in a jar in in his work truck.
“It initially started as a few pennies here and there. A few times I found dollar bills. Eventually, I decided to save it and turn it into a game for myself just to see what it would add up to,” said John.
And add up it did. John collected nearly $25 in his first jar. He started a second jar and in a four month time period, collected more than $5 as well as a unique 1856 French coin he hopes may be valuable to a collector someday.
“I’m not retiring on this by any means, but as the change adds up, it’s fun to see how much I’ve collected by maintaining safe habits,” John added. “That’s a free lunch or a few free coffees all from maintaining safe habits and taking a few minutes to perform a 360° walk-around.”
It is extremely important to keep the following safety tips in mind while performing a 360° walk-around:
- Look low to the ground during a 360° walk-around. Be on the lookout for low walls, fire hydrants, landscaping materials, rocks and other fixed objects low to the ground. This is especially important during the winter months when snow and ice can often cover and camouflage such objects.
- When you get to the back of the vehicle, look over all loaded material and equipment. Make sure everything is secure and will not fall and strike another vehicle while in motion. Also be sure to check the rear lights, making sure they are working properly and not cracked.
- Remember that the scenario can quickly change from the time you park, finalize your assignment and complete simple tasks, such as paperwork, making a phone call or adjusting your GPS. Always make sure a 360° walk-around is the last order of business before leaving an area.
- It’s not just about going through the motions. Be sure to pay attention to details as you perform your 360° walk-around.
While John works to fill his next jar, let us know how much change you think you can collect this year by performing 360° walk-arounds in the comment section below.