Archive for August, 2013

Rolling into Labor Day Weekend

By Jena Williams

Before we get to the interesting facts about Labor Day and helpful tools to get you safely through, I’d like to take a moment to thank truck drivers, mechanics, lumpers and loaders, dispatchers, trucking company managers and the families out there who work hard to bring us all we need each and every day. Many of us will be celebrating with a day off. Many of you will still be working and your job will be more stressful due to increased traffic volumes.

So from everyone here at KeepTruckingSafe.org, thank you truckers for your hard work!

As promised above – Useful links and tips:

Before you leave, check travel volumes: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/News/2013/08/22_2013_labor_day_travel.htm

For all the non-truck drivers out there – this graphic, produced by Driver Solutions, is an excellent visual representation of how and why to drive safe around semi-trucks: http://www.greatcdltraining.com/share-the-road?utm_source=DSShareRoad&utm_medium=safetrucking&utm_campaign=infographic

The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882. For more history on Labor Day: http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/laborday.htm

Oh, and one more thing, this is a widely kept secret, so you didn’t hear it from me! If you’ve been hitting the Washington State Parks over the summer, you can get a buy one, get one free six-inch sub at Western Washington Subways when you show your Discover Pass during September. (You’ll also need to purchase a drink.) More details here: http://www.parks.wa.gov/newsreleases/?number=%2013-051. So go work up an appetite!!!

Dangerous co-worker

By Jena Williams

I recently spoke with an injured worker (IW) who was run over, not once, but twice, by his coworker. Thankfully he was hit by the bumper and lift-gate and not run over by a tire – because then he wouldn’t be talking to anyone. The IW was the spotter and the other worker was the driver. The incident occurred when the driver did not wait until he could see the spotter before he began backing the truck and trailer.

As awful as the incident was, what is amazing to me is that the IW knew his co-worker was dangerous to work around before the incident even occurred. He had even joked to his employer that he needed hazard pay if he was going to work with the guy. Sad. Our IW has even had to work with the risk taker several times since the incident and on two occasions witnessed him hitting other things.

My question is…How prevalent is the scenario of having a known risk taker at a company? Do workers have increased fear of injury when working with certain co-workers?

Company management…Have your employees ever joked to you about hazard pay or risky coworkers? If they have, you might want to pay attention and consider increased training in the areas of concern, or discipline for the risk taker if they don’t change their ways. Even a very “productive” or super employee won’t mean much if they are responsible for injuries, time-loss, disability or fatalities to your other drivers and costs to the company’s bottom line.

Taking physical risks with yourself or others has no place at work.

Related Links:

Working together: http://www.healthy-workplaces.eu/en/media/multimedia

Over-confidence: http://youtu.be/PHS9meouG9Y

Where’s a cop when you need one?!?

By Jena Williams

They are out there all right! In fact, a trooper might be sitting in the semi-truck in the lane next to you. One of the methods the Washington State Patrol’s (WSP) Commercial Vehicle Division uses to identify aggressive drivers is by riding-along with truck drivers. They also use unmarked vehicles and WSP aircraft. The program is called “Ticket Aggressive Cars & Trucks” or TACT and its goal is to reduce commercial motor vehicle (CMV) collisions.

Do you have a guess as to who is causing the collisions? For Washington, slightly more than half are caused by the CMV, but four-wheelers (we’ll refer to them as cars) are definitely causing their share as well.

In 2012, there were a total of 1,316 CMV involved collisions (682 caused by CMV, 634 caused by cars). I might be going out on a limb here, but I believe that if you pit an 18-wheeler against a 4-wheeler, the 18-wheeler wins. I know this is making light of a very serious situation, which is exactly why the WSP is stepping in between aggressive drivers and the rest of us.

According to their semi-annual report, the TACT program troopers responded to over 10,000 drivers in 2012 for breaking various laws or who needed help. They issued citations to 2,370 cars and 126 CMVs for Aggressive Driving, to 6,011 cars and 227 to CMVs for Speeding, and 1,288 cars and 48 CMVs were also cited for Following Too Closely.  Considering there are just eight troopers dedicated to the TACT program, it sounds to me like they are making good use of their time!

I for one am thankful for the WSP’s Commercial Vehicle Division’s ongoing effort to stop dangerous behavior and the drivers that put the rest of us at risk. And a special thanks goes out to the trucking companies that are hosting the troopers!

Here are a few things you should know when driving around semi-trucks and trailers.

1.       Don’t linger beside a truck. They generally cannot see you so either stay behind them or pass on the left. Check out the No-Zone depicted here: http://www.safeny.ny.gov/nozone.htm.

2.       Don’t jump in the space in front of a truck. You don’t know what they are hauling or how much room they need to stop. The driver of the big rig is leaving that space for a reason.

3.       Give them plenty of room to turn. Yeah, that may be your lane, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share it. Anyway, that driver is probably delivering the goods you either need now or have needed in the past. Remember: If you bought it, a truck brought it!

If you are a passenger and see unsafe or aggressive driving on Washington’s highways, you can report it by calling 911. Drivers, we’d prefer that you keep your hands on the wheel and attention on the road. We don’t want YOU to be another statistic.

What are your thoughts on the partnership between the WSP and Washington’s trucking companies? Share in the comments below.

Always, always set the parking brake when you exit the cab

By Jena Williams

On Thursday, another truck driver was killed when he was run over by the semi-truck he was working on.  All fatalities are tragic, but the ones that could easily have been prevented are to me, the most heart-breaking.

We all get in a hurry. We all take shortcuts when we shouldn’t. But please next time, just don’t. Please, please don’t put your friends, family and company through the loss of YOU.

Employers, share with your employees what happened to Mr. Coleman in Oregon: http://www.kptv.com/story/23093159/salem-man-dies. Or use this true story from Washington: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/901222013.pdf. Hang this poster where everyone will see it and be reminded: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/901212013.pdf.

Stay safe. Don’t rush. Always set the parking brake. You are more important than any work that needs to be done.

By Jena Williams

TIRES Blog turned 2 today!

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What does it take to achieve three million safe miles?

By Jena Williams

Last week I had the privilege of riding along with Dan Poorman of Gordon Trucking, Inc. He is a super-star of trucking, winning this year’s Truckload Carrier Association’s Driver of the Year Award, and he was recently acknowledged by GTI as a three-million-mile safe driver.

Dan is modest about his accomplishments. “It’s great to be recognized but it also helps to have good equipment to work with that is well maintained,” he said. “GTI is a company that is dedicated to safety and equipment maintenance.”

As important as it is to work for a safe company, I could see by riding along with Dan, there was more to his success than just the company. Dan is a stickler for details, stating, “…develop a routine and stick to it.” He noted that it can just take a second for an incident to occur that has the power to change your life. But by sticking to a routine and always double checking your equipment, you can stay safe.

Some examples that I witnessed: Dan always double-checks that the pegs are locked into place when moving the trailer axles. He climbs under the trailer with his flashlight to be sure the 5th wheel claw is secure. He checks every tire on each new trailer. And when dealing with traffic, he said he doesn’t let it stress him out, noting you can either get upset about the situation or choose not to. The situation is what it is; it’s better to just accept it when you can’t change it.

His advice for new drivers is to request more training time be spent on the tricks of backing into the loading dock. As important as it is to drive down the road, the real test is getting that big rig into the dock.

From a guy with 25 years (22 with GTI) of safe-driving experience, I think this is advice we can take!

Thanks again to GTI and Dan Poorman for taking the time to show me the ropes!

For more information on driving & backing trailers, check out these YouTube videos by Jimmy Cox: http://www.youtube.com/user/jimscee/videos

For more on trucking safety see: www.KeepTruckingSafe.org.