Keeping Hillsborough staff and facilities safe is a ‘Tiny’ miracle

Safety and risk manager eyes eliminating workplace incidents

Tuesday, April 4, 2023
image of David Moore
David ‘Tiny’ Moore stands with his new Jeep four-wheeler — called the Black Pearl — that he loads up with gear to take on fishing trips to the North Carolina coast. Meet him April 29 at the Engage Hillsborough: Safety event.

David “Tiny” Moore likens his role as safety and risk manager with the Town of Hillsborough to coaching a football team that’s marching down the field. He provides his team with equipment and information to keep it moving forward, with the goal to end the day without incident. 

“The bottom line should reflect that everybody went home at the end of the day,” he said. 

Moore has been with the town since January 2000, starting out as an electrician before moving in 2008 to his safety and risk management role. Many of his responsibilities involve the generalized safety of town employees and includes maintaining compliance through the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. With more than 100 employees in his care, Moore is constantly assessing practices and guidelines and monitoring equipment and safety “hotspots,” or areas of high accident rates. 

“For instance, a year ago we were seeing a lot of instances through reviews from the safety committee of vehicles backing into things,” he said. “We try to pinpoint the reasons that’s happening. A lot of the time it's human error, but other times there might be an issue with a blind spot on the car or truck. We try to come up with an idea to alleviate this going forward, whether it be additional mirrors or backup cameras. That, in turn, may create a new standard protocol for ordering vehicles with backup cameras.” 

Safety and risk management require thorough training. Where possible, that training is completed online or through virtual methods, which allows a more convenient schedule for town employees. Other training, like proper use of fire extinguishers and directing traffic through work sites, requires in-person involvement and lengthy preparation. 

Another function of the town’s safety and risk management office are site inspections, in which the safety committee will split up to perform inspections at the town’s facilities and even parks. Moore said he and the committee, from time to time, will do surprise inspections to ensure everyone keeps safety fresh on their minds. 

The intent, Moore said, is not to reprimand but to find a way to make the workplace — and the workers — safer.  

“How can we make this better? Can we do this better? It's not me, it's not you. It's an ‘us’ effort. That's what I promote,” Moore said. 

Moore said he hopes to help the Hillsborough community expand its understanding of who to reach out to if there is an issue or incident where the Town of Hillsborough is potentially liable. 

“Residents sometimes take out their frustrations on the employee in the field when there’s an issue or an interruption in services for one reason or another,” Moore said. “What folks need to know is I’m the avenue that needs to be taken. I’m the one they need to call.” 

In his free time, Moore is often in pursuit of getting to the Outer Banks and other coastal areas so he can fish. His latest method for getting there is a Jeep four-wheeler he named the “Black Pearl.” 

Engage Hillsborough: Safety 

Safety and risk management will be among the areas of town services and operations featured in a special event April 29 to listen to community members about safety concerns and to provide information on a range of safety-related topics. Thoughts, suggestions and concerns expressed at this community engagement meeting will be gathered to guide future town decisions. 

Engage Hillsborough: Safety will be 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the Whitted Human Services Center, 300 W. Tryon St. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m. for informal conversation and interactive activities at staffed tables. The main program will take place from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Town and Orange Rural Fire Department employees also will be available to chat or answer additional questions after the main program. 

A free, supervised children’s art activity will be offered for children ages 4 to 12 in the same building. Children will have the opportunity to display their safety-related art project at the end of the program. A firetruck will be available for visits before and after the main program, and Orange Rural firefighters plan to bring some equipment with them as well. 

Spanish interpretation services will be available, and meeting handouts will be in Spanish and English. 

Engage Hillsborough is intended to provide an opportunity for more and different voices to engage with the town. A large attendance at this meeting will help ensure that future engagement meetings of this type are planned. If you cannot attend, please check with your neighbors to be sure your neighborhood will be represented. If you can attend, please bring neighbors and other Hillsborough friends with you! 

Got a question for the safety and risk manager? Contact him by email or by phone at 919-296-9647. Got a question about Engage Hillsborough? Contact Senior Communications Specialist Cheryl Sadgrove by email or by phone at 919-296-9433.