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Painted Lines

Painted Lines Improve Safety When Backing Trucks

By: Cesar Paredes, Intern - Office of Process Improvement
Posted: June 29, 2015

Painted Safety Lines

What the improvement is

Maintenance Patrols use a variety of trucks and other similar heavy equipment. Due to their size, some of this equipment is extremely hard to maneuver in small, tight spaces. Whenever a truck needs to be stored in a Maintenance facility, the patrol member must ensure that he or she back it up properly so that

  1. Other trucks have sufficient space to be stored
  2. The truck does not hit another truck or part of the facility while it is being backed in.

Region 4’s Brad Holmes developed and implemented a safer, more effective (and inexpensive) method to improve this situation.  He and his crew painted lines on the shop floor delineating where the tires should be when safely backing a truck into the shop. To execute this idea, they started by measuring each truck and then used the widest measurement. From that measurement, they went from the center of the door opening for the facility, came left half of that distance and painted a 4-inch-wide line as shown below. In addition, they placed a block on the facility floor to designate where the truck tires need to stop -- making it much less likely that a patrol member will back up too far. Brad noted that “This idea has given the patrol members more confidence when backing in because they can see that their tires are on that line. It is one less thing for them worry about.  We have a million things going on in the cab especially when we are backing up; knowing that the truck is in the same tracks day-in and day out, every single time, helps to alleviate some of the worries.”

Gary Vansuch, CDOT’s Director of Process Improvement, adds “This is a terrific example of applying mistake-proofing, a very useful Lean principle. Brad and his folks mistake-proofed this task, significantly reducing the likelihood of accidents when backing vehicles into the facility. I thank them for their efforts, and recommend that other folks with similar situations borrow and implement this straightforward improvement”.

Key Benefits

IMPROVED SAFETY – The primary benefit is improved safety: Maintenance Patrol members are now able to back their trucks into the shop with more confidence that they are doing so in a safe manner.

This innovation helps improve safety for this task, though is not a “failsafe”, so patrol members continue to follow other the safety guidelines, such as checking to make sure their truck wings are up and that no one is behind them when they are backing up.

Idea/Innovation developed and implemented by Brad Holmes, Region 4