Highway workers' uniforms get a safety makeover
GalleriesBrookhaven Town elected officials
You won't see Brookhaven's new gear for town highway workers on the Fashion Week runways.
But the bright, lime-green vests and white or yellow hard hats should make it easier to spot the workers and avoid accidents, officials said.
Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro said Wednesday he has ordered workers to wear the equipment bearing the department's moniker. He said the measures are intended to improve safety for the 220 employees who maintain roads.
The equipment cost about $6,000 and replaced helmets and vests that did not meet state standards, Losquadro said. The new vests, emblazoned with "Brookhaven Highway," are designed to tear if hooked by passing cars.
"We want people [to wear] . . . the breakaway vest for protection, so people can see you and you don't get dragged down the highway," Losquadro said in an interview. "These are injuries that just don't have to happen."
Civil Service Employees Association highway union president Walter Green said he supported the initiative because vests previously used did not tear on contact and could cause employees to be dragged.
"It's definitely a good thing for the men and women because we all want to get home to our families at the end of the day," Green said.
Losquadro, who took office in March, said no workers have been injured by passing vehicles in recent years.
He said the state Department of Labor had placed the highway department "on notice" last year because some workers did not wear helmets or vests. A labor department spokesman could not be reached for comment.
The vests might be good for morale, Losquadro said. "I want my employees to feel like they're part of a team."