DATE: June 23, 2004
INCIDENT TYPE: Potentially
TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY:
THE ACCIDENT: Every
once in a while we all see strange things while we are driving on the
Freeway. Well, imagine the startled looks on the motorist face's as
they cruised up I-15 one bright sunny day and saw a Caltrans employee
out in the median of the freeway doing what appeared to be some kind
of a dance. Now, imagine the thought of the employee doing that dance
and of what the public was thinking. There's a story behind this scenario,
and a Safety story to boot. First of all, we might as well identify
the said employee as a supervisor and get that out of the way. Next,
we'll describe how he (it was a guy) got into the dance mode. This particular
supervisor had been notified of a sign missing (not an uncommon thing),
on the freeway, W/B 52 to S/B I-15. He had looked for this "missing"
sign for quite some time, and finally saw it laying face down in the
median of N/B I-15, how it got there is still anybody's guess. So he
looped around and pulled safely into the median, exited his truck and
went over to the sign to lift it up to see what it said. This is when
the dance started. As he lifted up the sign, he was startled and shocked
to see mice scattering in all different directions, some heading directly
for him. As some of us already know, when you have little furry critters
heading for your legs, you kind of forget everything else and the panic
(aka Dance) mode automatically takes over. So here we have this guy
out in the middle of the freeway doing this "mouse dance" momentarily
oblivious to his immediate surroundings and jumping around like some
crazy guy in a hop shop.
things like this unexpectedly happen, and a person is in a potentially
dangerous place (anywhere on the freeway qualifies) their reaction is
automatic and mostly uncontrolled, and can cause them to do things they
wouldn't ordinarily do, such as to fall or jump into harm's way.
moral of the story is to be very cautious and deliberate when lifting
or moving any objects (signs, guardrail posts, signposts, valve boxes
plastic bags, etc.) anywhere, especially in the field, as you never
know what may be under it, including rattlesnakes, spiders, bees, and
yes, even mice that make you dance!
This article respectfully
submitted by a member of the District 11, Unit 12 Health & Safety Committee.