No repairs needed: Illinois Tollway Carpenter Shop honored for perfect safety record in 2022

No repairs needed-Illinois Tollway Carpenter Shop honored for perfect safety record in 2022

They paint walls, construct offices, lay carpeting and even repair broken door locks at 200 buildings and garages across the Illinois Tollway system.

The 12 carpenters and 4 painters who staff the Tollway’s Carpenter Shop “do it all—whatever needs to be done,” said Chief Facilities Officer Dave Donovan.

What they didn’t do last year was suffer any on-the-job injuries—a notable accomplishment considering the range and complexity of the work they do, as well as the variety of tools they use.

“I’m proud of that record,” Donovan said. “It reflects their skill and professionalism, along with the emphasis we put on safety.”

The workers, who are based at the Central Auto Garage in Downers Grove, are given a safety briefing when they receive their daily work assignments to make sure they understand their tasks and have the tools and equipment needed to do those jobs.

“We constantly stress safety,” Donovan said. “Doing a job safely is always the most important thing.”

That’s vital because the work the carpenters and painters do is varied and frequently physically demanding, including using ladders to reach high places, or moving bulky materials.

One day, his crews may be installing, taping and painting drywall to create new storage or office space. The next day, workers may be building storage units, shelving, cabinets or even bookshelves.

“They’re the finest carpenters I’ve ever been around,” Donovan said. “I’m always amazed when I see what they’ve done.”

The workers also regularly handle power equipment such as saws, drills and nail guns.

The Tollway works to provide the carpenters and painters with the best equipment available, even obtaining a high tech table saw that uses sensors to instantly stop the saw if it detects an obstacle—including fingers or hands—in the path of the whirling blade.

“It’s amazing technology and it fits with our goal of making sure we work as safely as possible,” said Donovan.