By K C Pawling, Road Safety and Loss Prevention Specialist

I think we can all agree that our employees are the most valuable asset that we can have. Their abilities, knowledge, and experience are hard if not impossible in some cases to replace. These last few years have really demonstrated how much of a challenge it is to find good, qualified individuals to bring on board as part of our team. Unemployment in Nebraska is extremely low, so it is a challenge to find potential employees. We know we should be thinking outside the box to come up with creative ways to retain employees so we can avoid the arduous process of finding new team members, but what are we doing to keep them safe? Isn’t that just as important? My experience has taught me that it is even more important. It is one thing to lose an employee to another business that was able to offer them something different than we could, but it is even worse to lose them to an injury or even, God forbid, a fatality. When we are focusing on retention, shouldn’t a good safety program be part of that focus?

As a highway superintendent, I always seemed to struggle with finding the time to have safety meetings. It’s not that I didn’t see them as important or necessary, it’s just that the road department was always under pressure to work while the weather was cooperative. Before I knew it, we just kept pushing the meeting dates back farther and farther. After getting the date nailed down, it was always what are we going to do for material? Other than reviewing our incidents and near-misses, what are we going to talk about? Do we have NIRMA come in and present some training for us? How about the power company, they have an interesting demo trailer that will roast hot dogs and pickles via energized power lines . . . Yes, it was not only cool to see but also very eye-opening to see their demo and all the potential hazards working around powerlines.

Well, if your mind is racing to answer the questions I just asked, I have some good news. NIRMA has great resources (in addition to the great loss prevention staff) available online for safety meetings.

Well, if your mind is racing to answer the questions I just asked, I have some good news. NIRMA has great resources (in addition to the great loss prevention staff) available online for safety meetings.

Safety Source Online Training Videos 

The first resource is the on-demand video training located at You will need to get your county an account if it does not have one already, but there is a numerous amount of safety videos available. Most of the videos are anywhere between 5 minutes to 30 minutes long and cover a variety of safety topics.

NIRMA Online University Training Videos

Another resource offered to NIRMA members is NIRMA Online University. It is powered by a different partner agency, Lexipol, so is accessed through a different link on NIRMA’s website: After sitting and working through a few modules, I came away very impressed with the material and delivery of the material. Again, you will have to set up an account and get logged in, but the effort is worth it. The modules through this resource are typically anywhere from 5 minutes to one hour in length.

Some of topics covered include:

  • Equipment Safety examples:
    • Chainsaw safety
    • Dump truck safety
    • Excavation safety and operation
  • Roadway and Highway examples:
    • Guide to temporary traffic control in work zones
    • Roadway maintenance
    • Snow and Ice management
    • Understanding the MUTCD
  • General Human Resource topics
  • General Management skills
  • General safety topics
    • Commercial Motor Vehicle safety
    • Dealing with cold and heat stress

These are just a few of the topics that you have access to. I would be remiss if I did not mention that the NIRMA Online University delivery method is different than just sitting down and watching a video. The delivery method used is very interactive. You will work through the modules and then answer questions and receive a score on how well you retain the information. If you are a manager, you can become an administrator and set up accounts for each of your employees and assign modules to your employees that they need to complete. Or you can also work through the modules collectively as a group, maybe make a game of it. As I was recently reminded by a MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) Trainer, safety training does not have to be boring, and either way you are exposing your employees to some great material.

If you need help working through account set-up, or have any other questions or concerns, let us know, we are here to help. I can be reached at or 402-310-4417 call or text. Let’s make sure we all make it home every night!