Archive for May, 2012

Honoring those who sacrificed everything

Memorial Day 2012By Jena Williams

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.

The freedoms that we enjoy were not free. Our freedom was bought and paid for by the brave men and women of our armed forces. Some gave up arms and legs, some struggle with emotional scars, many gave up time with their families and were not there to see important milestones, and some gave up their lives.

Those left behind had to pick up the pieces. Raising children alone, burying their child who died as a brave soldier or sailor, caring for a spouse who left whole and came home changed. So many have sacrificed so much to give us the freedoms we have today. Freedom to feel relatively safe in our communities and the freedom to speak out on causes that are important to us. No matter where you stand politically or religiously, whether you agree with our government or not, you have the protection to speak freely. Cherish it, appreciate those who fought and died to give it to you. Honor the flag and those who fought for it and died for you.

Thank you veterans and thank you to all who have suffered the loss of a brave man or woman in the fight for freedom.

2012 Memorial Day Events and Observances for Washington State:

More on the history of Memorial Day:

How to observe Memorial Day:

The big ugly phrase that no one wants to talk about…


By Jena Williams

Musculoskeletal disorders. Yuck! Who can even say it and more importantly, why should you care? Well sadly, if you are involved in the trucking industry then YOU need to care.

TIRES research* has shown that the majority of injuries and the most expensive injuries happen gradually to muscles, tendons and joints. These injuries are called musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs. You may be more familiar with people referring to them as a specific injury, like carpal tunnel syndrome (finger numbness) or rotator cuff injury (shoulder) or even tendonitis (multiple areas including the wrist and elbow.)  Preventing these common injuries to truck drivers is important exactly for the reason that they are preventable!  Learning to do things safely can prevent a lifetime of pain, not to mention the expense of an injury.

There are some things we know about preventing MSDs, like you can protect your knees from wearing out by using three points of contact instead of jumping from the cab. But there are a lot of things that may or may not contribute to MSDs that we are still trying to understand.

Researchers at the University of Washington are working on a study to determine if different types of seats might affect the likelihood of a driver developing an MSD. They are looking for companies that are willing to partner with them in the study. A small investment of your time could result in new seats for some of your drivers and a much better understanding of what does and does not contribute to MSDs in the trucking industry.

Are you interested in learning more?

Contact Pete Johnson at

*Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis (TIRES) Click for industry report.

It is warming up in Washington…

Worker drinking waterBy Jena Williams

Be sure to stay hydrated or take breaks as needed to prevent heat-related illness. That means drink before you are thirsty and rest before you are fatigued.

Symptoms to watch for in yourself and others include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Heavy thirst
  • Panting/rapid breathing
  • Rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Exhaustion, weakness
  • Clumsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Cramps

If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately get the person or yourself into the shade and begin sipping a cool, non-caffeinated beverage. Symptoms should improve within a few minutes, if not, call 911.


Note that Washington’s rule kicked in May 1

The Outdoor Heat Exposure Rule WAC 296-62-095 applies from May 1 through September 30, every year, when exposures are at or above a specific temperature (listed in Table 1 of the rule).

Information from Washington’s Labor & Industries on Outdoor Heat Exposure (OHE, Heat Stress) This link has lots of good training information.

You think that as a trucker you can’t participate in National Bike Month? – Think again!

By Jena Williams

May is National Bike Month and the mild May weather encourages people to dust off their bikes and choose to commute to work by bike or put in extra time riding with the kids. Many companies and organizations also begin friendly competitions to get themselves back in shape after the long winter.

Do you believe that since you are a truck driver, you are left out of cycling as a sport? In this article by Public Radio International, one trucker says no way!

 “Scott Grenerth owns and operates an 18-wheeler, which he drives cross-country hauling thousands of pounds of cargo. His truck also carries something lightweight, which most truckers don’t carry: a bike.”

If Scott can do it, so can you, with or without the spandex! He has a web site called Ride and Roll devoted to helping truckers get cycling, complete with safe locations to park, trail guides and encouragement. Check it out at

Employers – have you considered some sort of competition at your worksite where drivers can earn a bike? Maybe even just a commitment to ride might be enough to invest in keeping drivers fit.

Do you have success stories on how you or your company has instituted participation in cycling? We would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Are you aware of additional places for truckers to ride or organizations that support truckers cycling? Please share them as well.

*Image from Public Radio International. Scott Grenerth with his truck and his bike.

Link to article:

Link to League of American Bicyclists: Link to article:

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Long haul bike transport: