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"Organized confusion" of a road crew highlights the need for training

I recently came upon a municipal crew doing what appeared to be emergency repairs to a water main. There was enough water and mud running across the road, flashing lights and traffic cones everywhere along with trucks, backhoes and people looking in a hole to make me suspicious. The site was unfortunately rather heavily traveled with normally fast moving traffic and near an intersection with a traffic light. For whatever reason, the traffic light was out of service. The thing that most got my attention was the two people they had standing in the intersection back-to-back while directing traffic. It was just about dark and one of the traffic directors was wearing a reflective vest. The other one, in just work clothes, but with no reflective safety clothing, held a rather puny flashlight. But the thing that really got my attention was they were both giving hand signals to traffic - but not coordinating their control efforts. Mine was not the only car that nearly mated with another one as I tried to make a left turn at the intersection. Even going straight ahead was exciting. Fortunately, at least for the period of time I was there, the vehicle drivers, while aggravated, were using some caution and good judgment. VISTA Training has some really cool work safety training programs that the people described above would greatly benefit from. I'm not faulting the people I encountered, but their supervisors may need some attention. Please call 1-800-942-2886 or send us an e-mail at with any questions. - Ray Peterson

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