CINCINNATI — Employees at First Student Inc. began sporting lime green reflective vests earlier this year as part of an initiative to prevent pedestrian-vs.-bus accidents in company parking lots.
The program was prompted by an incident in which an employee was run over and killed by a school bus that was backing up in a bus yard.
“The driver did not see the employee because the employee had on dark clothing,” said Percy Abbott, First Student’s vice president of safety. “That was the only accident we had, but it was enough for us to make the decision to equip each of our employees with a reflective safety vest.”
Employees and visitors are required to wear the vests any time they are walking in a yard where vehicles are moving or may be moving, including as they are walking to and from their car.
Because of the bright color of the vests, it is easier for drivers to spot people walking around the yard. “Since we put the reflective safety vests on, our employees have said it is amazing how often they see people now that they wouldn’t have seen before,” Abbott said.
The company distributed 27,000 vests. It is the responsibility of the employees to take care of their own vests, but the company does provide extras in case they’re lost, damaged or forgotten at home.
Despite the added responsibility of having to remember to wear the vests, there haven’t been any complaints from employees. “We thought there was going to be a lot of grumbling, but because we have our logo in the back, and it’s an identifier, our employees have taken to it like it was a natural thing,” Abbott said.