By Tim Baxter, Road Safety and Loss Prevention Specialist

NIRMA has been conducting shop safety audits since shortly after its inception in 1988. Yet, there are still many counties that have not made the necessary safety improvements to better protect their employees. Most safety issues are eligible to apply for assistance through the NIRMA ASSIST grant program which helps offset costs of safety improvements. So, there is really is no reason NOT to make safety improvements.

The most recent shop audit inspections, of all 82 member counties showed an average of 47% improvements which clearly is a failing grade. A number of counties have never had a passing grade since joining NIRMA. Again, there is no reason not to make safety improvements. Road departments can and should appoint a conscientious, responsible person as Safety Manager who can ensure First Aid Kits and Fire Extinguishers are inspected, and other safety issues addressed. The Safety Manager could also oversee safety meetings, topics to present, quarterly shop audits, shop safety improvements, etc.

Remember to send copies of your quarterly safety meeting minutes which should include discussion of all incidents/events that occurred in the previous three months and recommendations as to how to prevent reoccurrence to Chad Engle at NIRMA.

I have attached a sample Foreman/Safety Manager job description where the Safety Manager position was combined with an existing position. After construction season is over and work slows down a bit, take time to look into this or a similar position. If you want to combine the Safety Manager position with another position, take the highlighted information and incorporate in your combined job description. I will gladly assist in any way I can.

NIRMA performs shop safety audits using OSHA, ANSI, and other nationally recognized safety organizations as a guideline. Some of the items inspected are consistent with state law, such as fuel storage facilities, and fines can be levied by the State Fire Marshal’s office if a county is not in compliance.

Attached is a Shop Inspection Checklist to assist in shop safety improvements and a sample Foreman/Safety Manager job description to show how to combine two positions. Please contact me with any questions at or 402-310-4417. Be Safe.