Archive for January, 2013

Top 5 TIRES posts

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By Jena Williams

It’s a new year! Time to learn from the past to create a better future. In the spirit of learning from the past, we’ve put together a list of the top five posts to the TIRES blog from inception until the end of 2012. You could say these are the people’s choice awards, but I think that name has already been taken.

Here’s your quick review:

Number  1. In memoriam: honoring the truck drivers who died on the job in Washington during 2011. (Originally published January 9, 2012)

Number 2. Three drivers lost in the last three weeks…Please drive safely out there
(Originally published September 4, 2012)

Number 3. Santa Claus is coming to town! Check this interactive tutorial on slips and falls.
(Originally published on December 1, 2011)

Number 4. “Tire Sock” – An alternative to chains? What’s the consensus? Tire sock good? Tire sock bad? You tell us.
(Originally published on March 5, 2012)

Number 5. Get up work hard and learn to be better! Discussion with Doug Stiffarm, winner of the Safety Professional of the Year Award for 2012
(Originally published August 20, 2012)

The crushing deaths of two sanitation workers spur change

By Jena Williams


Today we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., celebrating the changes his life brought to this country and maybe considering the work that still needs to be done to make this great country even stronger.

It’s a sad thing that often change is spurred by tragedy. Such was the case in 1968 when the city of Memphis finally got behind the need to change the pattern of business as usual. One February 1, 1968 two garbage collectors were crushed to death by a malfunctioning truck. After years of half-hearted support for change in working conditions, these deaths were what it took to build the support needed to bring the issue to the front lines. Bravery and sacrifice bought better working conditions for the next generation – our generation.

Now, what will we do for the next generation of workers? The third Monday in January has been put aside to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many have proposed for it to be a day “on” rather than a federal holiday “off.” Now I do understand that most in trucking don’t actually have today off, but stay with me, I haven’t forgotten you. We are all given opportunities to make our communities better, in big and small ways. We don’t all have to be a MLK, but we all have opportunities to make a difference and to “have a dream.”

Consider the Truckers Against Human Trafficking. Maybe you didn’t start the organization, but you can still make a call if you see an under-aged child being used. You have the opportunity to not look away. Truckers become angels in disguise all the time. Some are recognized, but I bet a lot of you work under the radar, helping people here and there because that is where your heart is. You make a difference.

As you look around at the people in your life, the people you brush past or hold the door open for. What needs to you see? I often wonder in the rush of my life, what opportunities to make a positive change have I missed? Whose needs have I ignored? What is the dream I should have to make our nation better? Well, I do have one, actually. I have bought into the mission of TIRES. I want to keep you safe on the job. I want you to have a good life and time with your families. I want you to know that I appreciate what you bring and how hard you have to work just to find a safe place to park for the night.

Thank you! And enjoy today. Let it be a day “on” in memory of a fine American.

More on Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike (1968):

Truckers Against Human Trafficking:

Truckload Carriers Association, Highway Angels:

In Memoriam

By Jena Williams and Randy Clark

Nine truck drivers died traumatically on the job in 2012. Nine lives too many. Each of these men was dedicated to his trade and is greatly missed by friends and family. Nine companies endured the loss of a treasured driver.

This blog post honors those drivers and recommits us to the TIRES mission to prevent injuries in Washington’s trucking industry.

The TIRES team wants to take this opportunity to remind trucking industry workers that we appreciate the value you add to our state and the work you do to keep our economy rolling.

Thank you for your hard work and please be safe out there.

Please use the comment section below to remember these drivers and post well wishes.

Gary Teal, 59, Truck Driver

Died: January 5, 2012

Mr. Teal’s raincoat became entangled in the spinning drive shaft of the power-take-off (PTO) shaft underneath his tanker trailer.

Harold Malcolm, 44, Truck Driver

Died: February 11, 2012

Mr. Malcolm was driving a fuel tanker on a state highway when his vehicle struck debris in the road, causing the vehicle to leave the road, rollover, and catch fire.

Jerrold Hughart, 70, Truck Driver

Died: August 15, 2012

Mr. Hughart was driving a loaded gravel truck when his vehicle left the road at a corner and crashed.

Mark Webb, 49, Truck Driver

Died: September 3, 2012

Mr. Webb’s septic tank truck crashed when he missed a turn in the road.

Steban Carr, 44, Truck Driver

Died: September 4, 2012

Mr. Carr was driving a truck carrying fertilizer when his vehicle crashed after missing a curve in the road.

Roger Atkins, 60, Truck Driver

Died: September 21, 2012

Mr. Atkins was driving a semi-trailer truck when it left a state highway and crashed.

James Dorsett, 38, Truck Driver

Died: September 24, 2012

Mr. Dorsett was driving a semi-trailer truck hauling wood chips when the vehicle traveling downhill left the road and rolled over.

Joseph Bartkowski, 68, Truck Driver

Died: November 4, 2012

Mr. Bartkowski was driving a fuel tanker truck that struck another vehicle which had crashed on an interstate highway.

Roger Warren, 64, Truck Driver

Died: December 12, 2012

Mr. Warren’s semi-trailer truck left a state highway off-ramp and crashed.

Here’s your opportunity to make an impact

By Jena Williams

Here’s your opportunity to get involved in safety regulations that may impact the industry. This week OSHA is holding the first round of meetings on preventing back-over injuries and fatalities. According to the OSHA web page statistics, in our nation, semi-trucks were involved 40 back-over fatalities from 2005-2010. That is second only to dump trucks.

Washington lost a truck driver in 2009 who was backed-over by a hostler tractor.

Noisy yards, poor lighting, communication break-downs, inattention, being rushed…many issues may contribute to a back-over injury or fatality. Those who work in the field know best what might be implemented to correct these and other issues.

It’s your turn to be the voice for change and to contribute your expertise. Take the time to unofficially poll workers at your company on what their suggestions might be, both for your yard and at other work locations and what topics they might suggest for discussion at the stakeholder meeting.

For more information about participating, check out this article from Or go straight to the Federal Register at:

Safety training poster:

Preventing back-overs: