365 days 0 injuries M-11 maintenance site recognized for its perfect 2022 safety record
They continuously patrolled 37 miles of roadway, assisting drivers and clearing crash scenes, operated snowplows and other heavy equipment and staffed shifts around the clock—all without sustaining a single on-the-job injury in 2022.
The Illinois Tollway is honoring the roadway workers at the DeKalb M-11 maintenance site for their outstanding safety record last year.
The DeKalb maintenance site on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) was the only one among the Tollway’s 12 maintenance garages whose crew racked up a perfect safety record in 2022.
“This is a huge accomplishment for them to go a year without an injury, especially given the work they do and the conditions they can face on our roads,” said Darrion Robinson, chief of maintenance and traffic. “For us, it all starts with safety. Our customers use our roads 24/7 and we need to always be ready to assist them and still stay safe.”
DeKalb Maintenance Site Manager Don Ryan credits his team’s perfect record last year to the Tollway’s emphasis on safety and on the hard work put in by his crew of about 20 equipment operator/laborers, mechanics and supervisors to do their jobs properly.
“It says a lot about the character of the people we have working here,” said Ryan, a 30-year veteran of the Tollway. “They take pride in what they do, they look out for each other and they make sure everyone goes home safe at the end of the day,”
At Tollway maintenance sites, supervisors hold daily briefings with workers to go over their assignments for he day, Robinson said. Those meetings also include safety reminders and are a way to make sure all workers have the proper safety equipment they need to carry out their assigned tasks.
“We never compromise on safety,” said Robinson, a 33-year Tollway veteran who began his career as an equipment operator/laborer.
For his part, Ryan said he frequently reminds his team to do their work safely, whether that means using the proper technique to change tires and lift heavy objects, or to not hesitate to call for assistance if they need extra help clearing debris or handling a difficult situation while patrolling I-88.
“We stress the importance of safety every day—it’s take your time to do the job right, think safe, work safe,” Ryan said. “Nothing is so important it has to be done in a split second.”
To recognize the DeKalb maintenance site’s accomplishment, the Tollway is hanging a banner in the garage saluting the team’s perfect safety record last year.
It will serve as a good reminder of what can be accomplished by stressing the critical importance of working safely.
“We want to be safe and perform at the highest level,” Robinson said.