Archive for March, 2013

What’s in your wallet??

By Jena Williams

Actually, I don’t really care what’s in your wallet. I’m more interested in where you store it. Is it in your back pocket? It’s probably been there since you were sixteen.

I’m not trying to judge you as I carry around all my gear in a heavy purse. So I get the need to have essentials (and not so essentials) nearby. However my thought is that the wallet is messing with your posture all day!

Here’s my concern for you guys out there. What is that extra inch of cowhide doing to your spine? If you’ve been sitting lopsided your whole life…Has your back started hurting?

I’m not a physician so I can’t dispense medical advice, but I am curious about the topic.

If you have back pain, would you be willing to try not sitting on your wallet for a week or a month to see if your pain improves?

If you don’t have back pain, would you be willing to start putting your wallet somewhere else to prevent the possibility?

If you try it, check back and let me know in the comments if it worked or not.

Maybe this is something you’ve already tried. Let us know if it worked for you.

Here’s a couple articles on the topic:

http://basichealthguide.com/2012/09/keeping-wallet-in-back-pocket-leads-to-backpain-or-sciatica/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2664615.stm

Does payment type impact commercial vehicle safety on the roads?

By Jena Williams

Recently a Washington truck driver shared with me his belief that most collisions caused by truck drivers were the fault of those paid by percentage of revenue or load, rather than by the hour. He believes companies that do business this way are inherently more dangerous to work for and he will not work for this type of company.

Research shows and the Washington State Patrol agrees that the majority of commercial vehicle involved collisions are actually caused by other motorists. However, studies also confirm the truck driver’s theory that the collisions caused by commercial vehicles (including single vehicle incidents) are more likely to be caused by drivers who are paid by the trip or load.*

Why would paid by the load be more dangerous? In a report to the U.S. House of Representatives, Michael Belzer outlines the risks and cuts that drivers, especially independent owner/operators, must take to stay profitable in this competitive industry. Since they are not paid for time spent loading or unloading or waiting to deliver, their time must be made up on the road.

Now, it’s a fact that commercial drivers are safer than the general motoring public – the rate is 1.22 for large trucks in fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle miles verses 1.33 for passenger vehicles, so I’m definitely not putting down their skills. And what they do is absolutely vital to our economy….If you’ve got it, a truck brought it!

My goal is to find a way to make the job safer so you can come home to your families at the end of a run. Here we have an injury trend, a path to choose: one way we know is safer, the other way is more dangerous…Is the dangerous path worth the extra money? Should we as a society do something to make the safe path profitable? What is it that needs to be done?

So, what do we as an industry do about this? If we truly believe that the safety of drivers and other motorists is more important that the almighty dollar, should we change how things are done? Is even one life worth making a change?

Do any companies out there have success stories that they’d like to share?

What are driver’s experiences in relation to this issue?

What can be done to keep the industry profitable AND increase safety?

*Studies confirming payment type impacts the likelihood of collisions:

Monaco, K and Williams, E. “Assessing the Determinants of Safety in the Trucking Industry.” Journal of Transportation and Statistics. April 2000, p. 6.

Belzer, M. H. “The Economics of Safety: How Compensation Affects Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Safety.” Presented to United States House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, July 11, 2012.

Quinlan, M. and Wright, L. “Remuneration and Safety in the Australian Heavy Vehicle Industry: A Review Undertaken for the National Transport Commission.” Report Prepared for the National Transport Commission, Melbourne, October 2008.

Info for passenger vehicles:

FMCSA Share the Road: http://www.sharetheroadsafely.org/index.asp

 

Fatality data per million miles driven: http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/CarrierResearchResults/HTML/2010overview/2010overview.htm

 

http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/trucks.aspx

What does the switch to Daylight Savings Time cost?

By Jena Williams

At 2:00 am Sunday we were supposed to have switched our clocks back one hour. If you didn’t, then, so sorry, you are already late! Either way, though, please take extra caution on the roads and at work today.

A study by SleepBetter.org put a price on the switch to Daylight Savings Time (DST) by investigating peer-reviewed literature and developing a Lost-Hour Economic Index to rank metropolitan areas. Specifically, they looked at the increase in heart attacks, workplace injuries in mining and construction sectors and increased cyberloafing by office workers.

They found that it costs over $1.65 per capita for our nation to switch to DST. Morgantown, West Virginia ranks in worst place with a cost per capita of $3.37. The highest cost per capita in Washington State is the Bremerton-Silverdale area at $1.71, followed closely by Spokane at $1.70.

So why do we do DST?

The United States started observing Daylight Savings Time during World War I as a way to conserve energy. Why we still do it is anyone’s guess, in fact some states such as Arizona and Hawaii no longer observe it.

What about car crashes?

Various studies have shown that car crashes increase on the Monday after the switch to Daylight Savings Time. Studies also show that many crashes by tractor-trailers are actually caused by the four wheeling motor public so please be extra cautions around big rigs today.

What can we do to make driving around big-rigs safer?

It’s obvious if one thinks about that a big rig is much heavier than a commuter vehicle so it takes them much longer to stop. But often as we (the motoring public) are attempting to get from Point A to Point B, we forget about the needs of other vehicles on the road.

So to increase the safety of everyone, give big-rigs a wide berth. It takes them much longer to stop and their blind spots are enormous. If you can’t see a driver in their mirrors, then they cannot see you.

And please, if you wake up fatigued this morning. Hit snooze again and stay off the roads.

Sharing the Road with Tractor-Trailers: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook/section2.3.3.shtml

History of Daylight Savings Time adoption: http://www.zimbio.com/Why+Do+We+Have+Daylight+Savings/articles/srmWOYL2cOf/history+Daylight+Savings+Time+adopted

Tips for dealing with DST: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/daylight-saving-time-spring-forward/story?id=15878343

What’s March Madness got to do with trucking?

By Jena Williams

This year, the NCAA celebrates 75 years of March Madness. Sudden-death rules apply as 64 colleges compete for 3 weeks to determine this year’s national champion. Adrenaline pumping, fans cheering, layups, 3 pointers, slam-dunks, and last-second game winning shots. Powerful moves and teamwork are needed to win the game.

These amazing athletes are in top physical condition. Their bodies are warmed up and cooled down and trained by professionals.

On the sidelines and in the locker room, team docs are armed with ice packs, ibuprofen, and other tools to keep players performing. Even in the best of conditions, with the best coaches, the best equipment and personalized medical care, a body can only handle so many jumps, so much wear and tear.

According to a study by Dr. Deitch and his colleagues, 19.3 injuries are sustained per 1,000 NBA athlete exposures. The lower extremity was the most commonly injured body area (65%), and lateral ankle sprain (13.7%) was the most common diagnosis.

The great players who manage to avoid major injuries in college may go on to play professionally for a few years, maybe even a decade. But eventually, their bodies will wear out; they will have to give up the game to the younger players.

So what does this have to do with truck drivers and warehouse workers? Well, just like basketball players, you often jump out of your cab and off your trailer. Some loaders will jump on and off 30 plus times a day.

I know, no one wants a lecture, or to be reminded that they are not invincible. But truth be told, if athletes who are in top physical condition with the best care, the best trainers and the best equipment get injured, why wouldn’t the average Joe or Jane who jumps all day also get injured?

How can you stay in the game for the long haul?

Drivers

  • Use 3 points of contact because it protects your body just like warming up and cooling down before a game.
  • Tell your employer when the cab or trailer steps are worn or damaged.

Employers

  • Ask workers if their equipment is working for them.
  • Develop a policy for reporting and maintaining worn cab or trailer steps.

Want to see how much force even a jump from the lowest step creates? Check out this simulation. You can put in your own weight and test different scenarios.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Jump force simulation: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/game.html

Current NBA player injuries: http://columbusdispatch.sportsdirectinc.com/basketball/nba-injuries.aspx?page=/data/nba/injury/injuries.html