On day dedicated to fallen workers, mother of INDOT employee speaks out

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Of the 171 Hoosiers killed on the job in 2012, one victim’s mother is speaking out for safer working conditions.

Virginia Morgan visits her son Steven Overbay’s grave in Putnam County all the time, but it took her seven months, since his death last September, to get the courage to speak out.

“I felt like he knew something bad was going to happen,” Morgan said.

Overbay worked nearly five years for the Indiana Department of Transportation, or INDOT, many of them as a flagger. It was in that job that Overbay was hit and killed by a driver who didn’t heed warnings.

Just two weeks before his death, Morgan said her son told her he was worried for his safety.

“He said, ‘I’m afraid that something bad’s going to happen,'” Morgan said.

Overbay was one of 171 workers honored at the Indiana Statehouse Monday, on Workers’ Memorial Day. Union leaders said that most of the deaths were preventable.

“The number of names this year is truly disturbing,” Indiana State AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott said.

“I just want something to be done,” Morgan said.

Morgan said she wants to see more protections, like flashing lights and signs, for INDOT workers like her son.

An INDOT spokesperson told Fox59 that it will soon start testing automated flagging devices, used by remote control, as well as portable rumble strips, to try and deter drivers near work zones.

Morgan hoped that by speaking out, others will also work to push for stricter workplace safety steps.

“I don’t want this to happen to (anybody) else’s family,” Morgan said.

If you feel unsafe at work, check your company’s policy. INDOT does have a policy in place that allows workers to refuse to do their job if there is a justifiable safety concern.