In nearly every manufacturing plant hangs a simple sign with a big message: "Safety begins here. This plant has worked __ days without an accident." While the sign's wording differs from shop to shop, the message is always the same: safety first
At Murray Sheet Metal Company in Parkersburg, the signs hanging above the fabrication floor and outside the building indicate that the staff has worked more than 1,155 days injury free. That's more than three straight years without an incident. This is a monumental achievement, one especially deserving of praise because, at Murray, the safety record includes the travel and off-site work of roofers, heating and air conditioning technicians, and sheet metal crews. These employees must communicate with the home office throughout the workday as they travel our roadways and service customers in new environments with circumstances beyond their control. When the distracted driving law passed and I signed it into law, Murray's leadership began to research different hands-free devices so they'd be ready by July 1st.
With the help of their cell phone provider, each of Murray's fleet vehicles has been equipped with a portable device that fits on the driver's visor- even working with an older vehicle's speaker system. Employees have also been provided Bluetooth devices. As Karen Henline, the office manager at Murray Sheet Metal Company, recently said the comfort of each employee is paramount to complying with the law and remaining safe.
"We have to be in contact with our employees on the road and our protocol is that if at any time a call, text or voice message is received and you happen to be without a hands-free device, you are to stop and pull over safely to answer the call. We make it go both ways, if we have to call someone on the road, we ask them if they are hands-free and remind them to pull over and talk, if needed. We feel that until everyone is used to it, we can all help each other. All of our employees are important to us and we value their safety above all else. It is something we talk about daily with all of our employees."
I encourage all West Virginias to treat their cell phone safety usage just as our manufacturers approach their daily work: one day at a time and safety first, always. Please take my Safe Driver's Pledge at www.governor.wv.gov
Amy Shuler Goodwin