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Nov 13

Final Investigation into April 2018 Accident

Posted on November 13, 2019 at 10:13 AM by Thomas Reeves

April 9, 2018 is a date that will forever serve as a reminder of a City employee lost on the job. A member of our Public Works Department family, Tyrone Hairston died while performing streetlight maintenance.

After the incident, the City performed three investigations aimed at learning what went wrong, and how accidents like this could be avoided in the future.  The results of the final investigation have now been shared with the City.

We’re sharing the results of this latest investigation out of an abundance of transparency.  There was messaging about transparency when we began the Serious Accident Review Team (SART) investigation, and we’re repeating that messaging now.  Full disclosure is of the utmost importance as we seek to change the culture at the City.

This latest investigation is a continuation of the City’s safety program overhaul.  In particular, this seeks to close the loop on the SART report which brought into question whether others in management should be held responsible for the death of Hairston.

We have reviewed the full report and have found it to be thorough and fair, and based on the findings in this report, the City has found that no additional disciplinary action is warranted against supervisors or managers still employed by the City.  

We all recognize that training is an essential component of any job function at the City, and the investigation found that the employees had been provided the necessary safety-related trainings for their specific job functions for which they were hired.  

The study also found serious failings by the supervisors in providing certain safety-related policies, procedures, and Personal Protective Equipment to Hairston and his coworkers.

The investigation makes clear that although certain policies and procedures existed, they were not being consistently followed, and that is a key driving force in changes being made across the entire organization.  It is also fully acknowledged that new policies and procedures were necessary as a result of the incident, and those have been implemented organization-wide.  

We’ve learned a lot since April 9th, and we will continue to strive toward a safe and secure work environment.

Since April 2018, the City has:
  • Hired a Safety Officer who will implement the steps recommended by the SART investigation to make sure this type of tragedy does not happen again.  The Safety Officer is providing necessary trainings and implementing safety programs.
  • Instituted many of the recommendations within the SART report including having monthly safety meeting and more frequent job site visits with division managers.
  • Stepped up its record keeping to ensure trainings and certifications are current.
  • Implemented safety tailgate meetings at the start of each job.
The City is investing heavily in training, personal protective wear, standard operating procedures, and equipment.

Nothing is more important than our employees' safety. Getting them home safely each and every day is our priority, and if we are cultivating a culture of safety in the workplace, our employees' family and our residents will be better served.  

Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and as I've told our employees, if you see something that is contributing to an unsafe work environment, say something to our team.

November 2019 Report