Illinois Tollway Recognized for Innovative Workplace Safety Solutions

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The Illinois Tollway has been selected as the statewide winner of the Build a Better Mousetrap Competition, which highlights innovative solutions to everyday problems and issues that transportation workers encounter.

Administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation, the competition recognizes agency personnel who utilize their expertise and creativity increase safety, reduce cost, improve efficiency and the quality of transportation. An independent team of judges recognized the Illinois Tollway Maintenance and Traffic Operations team for their “Safety Sprayer,” which was built and modified by field personnel to improve pesticide applications and reduce potential exposure.

“This was a collaborative effort as both managers and their staff from across our system added value as the “Safety Sprayer” evolved into our final product,” says Wayde Tabor, Illinois Tollway General Manager of Maintenance and Traffic Operations. “I’m proud of our team for working together and developing an innovative tool that will improve worker safety and efficiency.”

Created from mostly “found” materials, the “Safety Sprayer” is made from 85 percent recycled materials and equipment. It is mounted to the side of a maintenance truck during operations and allows for the driver to have direct control over the application, removing the need for additional personnel during the spraying process. The equipment is easy to replicate and offers maintenance staff the ability to utilize it throughout the Illinois Tollway system.

As the state winner for Illinois, the “Safety Sprayer” will be shared with transportation agencies nationwide by the Federal Highway Administration as a best practice for innovative maintenance solutions that improve workplace safety and efficiency.