Archive for October, 2012


By Jena Williams

Surprised expression

We are continually bombarded with topics to be aware of.  In October we have Domestic Violence Awareness, Eye Injury Prevention, National Breast Cancer Awareness, National Bullying Prevention… The list goes on. All worthy causes to be sure, but it makes me dizzy just trying to keep up.

One might think, “So what. Why do I need to know about all these topics of the month, week or day?” Well, the truth of the matter is, you may not need to know. Unless of course it affects you or someone you love, then you do need to know because by knowing, you can potentially contribute to a better outcome.

Okay, so just what am I getting at? As is normally the case in this blog, it swings full circle back to trucking, specifically trucking safety. By knowing about safety, by being aware of the risks and avoiding them, you can create a better outcome for your life and contribute to bettering the lives of those you love who are counting on you.

To have trucking as a lifelong career, you must be aware of the actions you can take to be as safe on the job as possible. TIRES works to raise awareness that:

Truck drivers know better than anyone that awareness is essential while driving. Being aware of that passenger vehicle that’s been riding in your blind spot…Now where’d he go???

TIRES would also like to make the motoring public aware of how they can make your job safer. Do you have ideas of how we can help to raise awareness to make the roads safer for trucks? Please comment below with your ideas. TIRES is here to support you in raising awareness every day of the year. Let’s do what we can to achieve the best outcomes for you and your family.

More safety training materials:

National Health Awareness Center has a calendar of awareness topics.

It’s time to check your chains

By Jena Williams

Fall is here and winter weather is on its way. Prepare by inspecting your chains for wear and damage. Lay each one out for inspection, and then practice chaining the tires. Make sure you have practiced chaining all the trucks you may drive. You do not want to learn the tricks or read the instructions while sitting on the side of a busy road during a winter storm.

Take a moment to review the Washington Department of Transportation’s Minimum Chaining Requirements:

This is also a good time to make sure your cab is stocked with essentials in case you are stuck for a few days. Consider non-perishable food like protein bars. Do you carry extra medication in your cab? How about warm clothes? Extra water?

Once upon a time, we had the phone numbers of our nearest and dearest committed to memory. Not too long ago, I locked my keys AND my cell phone in my car. Even though a good Samaritan was there to offer me her cell phone, I had trouble coming up with phone numbers to call. Good grief! I really can’t survive without that phone, my brain is in there.

Today is the perfect time to memorize the numbers of those closest to you. Also, write them down in a couple of places where you can find them if your phone is lost, stolen or simply locked in your vehicle.

Here are links to safety training materials for cold and icy weather:

A truck driver’s winter survival kit:

More severe weather training:

Is there anything else you do to prep yourself or your rig for the winter elements? Please share your ideas with us in the comments below.

Stay safe this winter!

Protect your drivers by putting it in the contract

tarpingBy Jena Williams

You already know this and TIRES data confirms that tarping the load is a dangerous part of a driver’s job. We also know that often injuries from tarping or strapping loads occur at the customer site. But often, it isn’t really the customer site…it’s the side of the road outside their yard.

Yep, you know it’s true. Instead of a well-lit, level yard, with possibly the assistance of a forklift, your drivers are forced to strap and tarp, already dangerous jobs, on the side of the road. Good grief!

But what can you do without alienating your customer? Write it into the contract. I know, easier said than done! But really it isn’t.

Tell new and existing customers that you have a new policy in place to protect a very important asset to your company – your drivers. Tell them that from now on, they will need to allow strapping and tarping loads on site. If your customer has a tarping station, confirm that your driver will be able to use it. Tell them that you have the best drivers, the ones that will safely get their product where it needs to be and on time, but that this is a change that you absolutely must make.

Sure, you may lose a few customers, but I imagine when you let the word get out that you put your drivers first, your reputation will grow and you will gain a few. In all honesty, even those lost customers aren’t worth the fall injury or death of a single driver. I believe you really will come out on top in the long run.

I would love to hear from companies with success stories of working with customers to implement safer policies for your drivers – anything from improved lighting, to addressing trip hazards to getting forklift help for tarping.

How did you do it? What did you learn? What tips can you share?

These handouts were developed with your customers in mind. Hopefully they can help you address difficult safety topics with greater ease. Please copy and print as needed and send out with your invoices.

Safe trucking everyone!

Mechanics – this one’s for you!

By Jena Williams

The trucking industry is so varied, not just in what you haul and where and how many stops you make…I could go on!  It includes a variety of occupations: drivers, loaders, mechanics and dispatchers.  We at TIRES want to keep you all safe and working, so today I’d like to shine the light on a common hazard for mechanics – compressed air.

As those of you in the field know, but to enlighten the rest of us, mechanics use compressed air (up to 80-110 psi) for tire inflation and impact wrench work.

It is also sometimes used for surface cleaning and this is where it gets dangerous. Workers are REQUIRED to reduce the pressure to 30 psi for surface cleaning, but since this is often not an effective pressure, they sometimes knowingly or unknowingly increase the pressure for effectiveness.

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

Using air compressors for surface cleaning sends all kinds of dust and debris into the air. This can injure your eyes or lungs or those of a passerby. Additionally, compressed air at 100 psi can break the skin, causing an embolism in an artery and even death. You can see why it is illegal in Washington State to use an air compressor to clean the body or clothing on the body.

Air compressors are one of those tools that people like to get MacGyver-y about. Please don’t! Never tamper with the air gun nozzle or any other parts.

We all get complacent around dangerous tools that we use every day, but mechanics you are vital to this industry. We want to keep you safe and healthy. So please stay “on guard!”

Here is more info on using compressed air:

From our friends north of the border:

Do you have other tips to share on safely using compressed air? Please comment below.

Safer Drivers – Workers Training Workers

Would you like to add a new twist to your safety training? One that actually gets your employees involved?

Studies show that we are all more likely to “buy in” to something if we are involved in the development.

This is exactly the advantage that “Safer Drivers – Workers Training Workers” is using to improve safety training traction at trucking companies.

The plan is to train respected workers within your organization to be responsible for the safety training of colleagues. When respected peers are reminding you to do something a certain way, you are more likely to listen.

I bet now you’re thinking … so what’s the bottom line? What’s it going to cost?

The answer may surprise you – this training program is being supported by a grant from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries’ Safety and Health Investment Projects, so it will only cost you the time of two employees for two days.

These workers will come back with a year’s worth of weekly safety materials and the knowledge to present it in simple 15-minute sessions.

What if your workers are not part of the union? Although the organization that earned the grant is the Teamsters/AGC Training Center, this organization is separate from the union. According to Tom George, one of the trainers, “We simply want to keep Washington’s truck drivers safe. Since the training is funded by the state and not the union, it’s open to everyone, union or not.”

The sessions are being held all over the state on a first come, first served basis.

Call Tom George at 509-545-8297 or check out the website at


Learn about qualifying for a SHIP grant: