Archive for April, 2012

Work safe, home safe – each day of the year

Worker Memorial BellBy Jena Williams

April 28, 2012, was Worker Memorial Day, and many of us stopped to remember those lost on the job in 2011. As important as it is to recognize a day to remember, we also need to keep the battle moving forward. It’s not just on April 28 that we should remember safety, but each and every day of the year because according to the U.S. Department of Labor, America loses 12 workers a day.

That means that each day 12 families are devastated. Twelve companies lose a valued worker, whose co-workers shut down in shock and grief. Twelve funerals are planned. Twelve needlessly, senselessly, don’t come home – each and every day of the year. Twelve too many. Remember the fight for safer jobs each day of the year. Work Safe, Home Safe. Live by that motto.

Washington workers – we appreciate you, especially those who bring it!

Links of interest:

Washington truck drivers lost in 2011:

Washington L&I worker memorial day:

Thoughts and photos of Washington workers lost in 2011 (program from event):

U.S. Department of Labor, “One is Too Many” blog post:

PHOTO: Worker Memorial Bell at Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

Why you should care that ANSI adopted a new standard for motor vehicle operations

Square peg, round holeBy Jena Williams

You may have heard that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) adopted the new national consensus standard for commercial motor vehicle drivers developed by the American Association of Safety Engineers (ASSE). The goal of the standard is to improve transportation safety by providing guidance on issues ranging from inspections and maintenance to distracted driving. The standard is known as ANSI/ASSE Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations, Z15.1-2012, and it expands on an earlier standard issued in 2006.

What does ANSI do and why do we care that they have approved the new standards?

ANSI is the administrator and coordinator of the United States’ voluntary consensus standardization system:

The ANSI Federation’s primary goal is to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the American quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and promoting their integrity. ANSI’s approval of these standards verifies that consensus has been achieved.

Is this more “we’re the government and we are here to help?”

No, actually, the ANSI Federation is made up of volunteers from varied backgrounds to form the best possible balanced opinion.

ANSI consensus principles encompass:

  • Due Process. Any person may participate by expressing a position and its basis, having that position considered, and appealing if adversely affected. Due process allows for equity and fair play.
  • Openness. Any materially affected and interested party has the opportunity to participate in the consensus process.
  • Balance. The standards development activity should have a balance of interests and shall not be dominated by any single interest category.

Is there a reason that individual companies should care about standards?

TIRES found this article that describes the process behind standards and why they should matter to a successful company.  To sum up the article, we depend on standards every day, from the software on your computer to the size of the lanes we drive on. Standards in any and every industry allow it to function and keep consumers coming back.

 Are standards voluntary?

Technically, yes. Practically, no. Another article from ANSI, explains why:

Technically, ANSI standards are considered voluntary consensus standards and are not written as laws or regulations. In fact, the subcommittees that create the standards have no enforcement authority… Yet the standards themselves are widely recognized in industry as an excellent source of reference material…

How long does voluntary stay voluntary?

Trick question! Ultimately, it is possible for standards to become mandatory and enforceable. If some or all of the ANSI standards are referenced in rulemaking by the Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) or a state agency, then the standard becomes the law.

Wow! That’s a lot to take in. The good news is that the standards do not take effect until August 20 and hopefully, we’ll all get to take a closer look at them when the final version becomes available in May. Until then, you can check out the articles below for more information.

Have you ever been involved in a standard making process? What did you feel were the pros and cons of your personal or your company’s experience? Please use the comment tab below to share your experience.


American Society of Safety Engineers press release:

J. J. Keller sums it up:

Truckers and Troopers Working Together to Make Washington Highways Safer

Trooper ride alongBy Jena Williams

In a recent media release, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) noted that “between 2005 and 2007, commercial vehicles were involved in nearly 5,000 collisions in Washington. On rural roads, the driver of the car was at fault two-thirds of the time, causing the deaths of 175 people, and another 450 people were injured.”

In response to this, the WSP Commercial Vehicle Division partnered with the Washington Trucking Associations to become a pilot state for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s TACT Project*.  TACT stands for Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks.

[The goal of TACT] is to change driver behavior when operating around commercial motor vehicles, to reduce the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities on our state’s roadways, and to increase public awareness about unsafe driving behaviors around commercial vehicles (i.e. cutting off trucks, tailgating, failure to yield right of way, speeding, and aggressive driving). It also targets truckers who are not driving considerately.

The project started in 2005 with a trooper riding along with a commercial truck to get a perspective on how unsafe the general motoring public can be around trucks. It seems obvious that if a personal vehicle tangles with a commercial truck, the truck is going to win, but some people still seem to need the reminder.

The WSP team cited aggressive drivers or gave warnings along with information on driving safely around commercial trucks. The Washington pilot was so successful that other states applied for and received grants from the FMCSA to get the project in their states.

What is the most important piece of advice for commuters who share the road with commercial trucks? Please share your comments below.

*TACT project is a grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Photo courtesy FMCSA.

Results of the Washington state TACT program

Information from the WSP on aggressive driving and road rage

Information from the FMCSA on TACT 

You can make a difference in preventing vehicle backovers

Memorial to deceased worker

By Jena Williams

OSHA (the Occupational Health and Safety Administration) is seeking comments from employers, workers, and all others who are interested in how to prevent worker injuries and deaths from vehicle backovers.

 You are in the field. You have seen the close calls or maybe even lost a friend or co-worker. This is your opportunity to share your knowledge and help to prevent future injuries and deaths. Tell OSHA what needs to be done, what works and what doesn’t work. Take on the solution.

 Click here to view the Request for Information (RFI) on vehicle backovers. There are two dockets that are part of this RFI. One is about injuries related to reinforcing concrete and the other is injuries related to backing operations. For more detailed information about the request, click here or on the hyperlink “Request for Information” in the first sentence of the OSHA announcement or go to the Federal Register!home  and type in the search box docket number OSHA-2010-0059.

In addition to telling OSHA, will you share your knowledge with us by commenting below? TIRES wants to prevent all backover injuries so we do not lose another trucking industry worker. Tell us what you know and we will develop training materials to get the message out.

Link to OSHA’s RFI

Read and remember this tragic case from Washington. This was a runover, not a backover, however, solutions will overlap. We do not want this to happen again!

So – you don’t think you can exercise in your cab?

In cab workoutBy Jena Williams

This trucker found a way and is willing to share it with you. Check out Todd McCann’s blog and scroll down to see his “How to do a full body workout in the cab of your semi” video.

He’ll show you how it’s done. All you need to bring to the table is some motivation. Oh, not the “M” word! Motivation. How does one get motivated to start a lifelong commitment to better health?

The book Influencer* discusses how motivation alone isn’t enough to change habits, but that you can be successful in motivating yourself to attain your goals if you make sure that the six forces of influence in your life aren’t undermining you. These include:

·         Personal Motivation (Values)

·         Personal Ability (Skills)

·         Social Motivation (Support)

·         Social Ability (Teamwork)

·         Structural Motivation (Incentives)

·         Structural Ability (Environment)

The idea is that willpower will never be enough if you don’t address all the little things that will trip you up. Like if the candy bowl is in easy reach, you are more likely to eat it than if it is put away. Even better, you are less likely to eat junk food if it’s not in the house at all. For the cab, take the time to pack healthy snacks that you eat at regular intervals. That way you won’t choose unhealthy foods when you are overly hungry.

Are your friends supportive of your plan to get healthy or will they sabotage you to keep you like them? You may need to talk with them about your goals and ask for their support. Or better yet, find someone to partner with you to exercise. Schedule a phone call at a specific time to report back on your workout.

Although we won’t address all six sources of influence in this blog post, the book gives some great examples that you can apply to your own circumstances. Check out some of these videos to see how the influencer model works.

*Patterson, Kerry, et al. Influencer, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.