Training has always been an integral part of the services offered by Iowa State University’s Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), but this year’s attendance in their Work Zone and Flagger Training has hit an all-time high.
A total of 712 employees have participated in the training as of August 1, which is over 200 more than the yearly average.
“Although it is a year-round, on-call service, we get brought in mostly from January through April, right before the start of the construction and maintenance season,” explains David Veneziano, LTAP’s Safety Circuit Rider. “Our training covers everything from work zone setup to how to flag traffic to worker safety.”
Veneziano shares trainer responsibilities with Paul Albritton, LTAP’s Technical Training Coordinator, as they travel across the state on behalf of Iowa’s local agencies.
“We’re not sure what led to the increase this year, but it could be any number of things—from an agency anticipating more projects in an upcoming season to a special event coming through an area where there may be a greater need for more traffic control,” says Veneziano. “Those are just some thoughts, but agencies train staff for many reasons.”
No matter the reason, one thing is for certain, the training they are doing is important on a variety of levels.
“Our goal is to provide them with the information they need to set up work zones correctly. This keeps both the traveling public and themselves safe as work is being completed, as our courses include strategies aimed at preventing deaths, injury, and property damage on our roadways.”
That means the more people who are trained, the better prepared they are to handle any type of situation.
“Not everything we teach may be necessarily new to long-time employees, but it can serve as a much needed refresher,” adds Veneziano. “But we do hope our training reminds people of the need for safety in everything they do in the course of their job.”
The Iowa LTAP also teams with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) from January through March each year to offer another safety-related training course—the Iowa Work Zone Safety Workshops. Split into city and county breakout sessions, along with a variety of DOT sessions, this training ensures that everyone from city public works staff to county maintenance personnel have access to the information they need at any time of the year.