Archive for March, 2014

What lessons can we learn from the tragedy in Oso, Washington?

By Jena Williams

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After a long, sad week, we are still trying to wrap our minds around the tragedy of the SR 530 landslide disaster, of those who were killed or not yet found, of the miraculous rescues and the heroes, and the realizations that survivors have lost everything. What can we learn or take away from it all? Can this reminder of the unpredictably shortness of life impact us, even if we are watching the drama unfold from the sidelines?

I believe it can. It can remind us to take out time for those we love, to put people before tasks and to mend the fences where we can.

The example of a regular day becoming a tragedy of unsaid goodbyes can remind us to give hugs and to give forgiveness. Both are shown in numerous studies to relieve stress, which will help your health in general and allow you to function better in all aspects of your life.

It is worth it to hug your loved ones (even the difficult ones) and to apologize early (even if they are mostly to blame). Your steps will be lighter each day and so will theirs.

Helpful links:

American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Red-Cross-Responds-to-Washington-Mudslide

Information on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

How to handle unresolved conflict in your family: http://stress.about.com/od/relationships/qt/unresolved.htm

*Image:  Peanuts creator Charles Schulz

Slip into spring?

By Jena Williams

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No thank you!

It’s finally spring, and as the old adage goes… April showers bring…well, in Washington they bring May showers and June showers and maybe even July showers.  And all those showers bring slick roads, and loads. This is a great time to check your traction and continue to wear the proper footwear for your job. You can also protect yourself from slip, trip and fall injuries by cleaning up spills as soon as they occur.

Wet loading docks contribute to costly fall injuries each year. Employers, have you considered ways to keep your loading docks dry such as adding an awning? Additionally, remind workers to report worn steps or ramps so they can be maintained. Investing in safety is a wise business decision.

For more information on protecting yourself and your career by wearing work boots, the footwear of the professional truck driver, see these links:

Wear the footwear of the pros! http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/90422009.pdf

Don’t let your footwear get you down: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/90412009.pdf

These boots were made for walkin’: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/901192013.pdf

Inspect your boots: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/safetymaterials/901182013.pdf

For a fun training on the effects of friction when you wear various footwear click: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/game_2.html

Laughter is good medicine

By Jena Williams

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When deciding which movie to rent – the comedy or drama – should you consider your heart? How about which friend to call? The one who stresses you out, or the one who makes you laugh? How about when you drip your lunch on your shirt? Giggle or grumble?

Research shows you should choose to laugh if you want to protect your heart.

A University of Maryland Medical Center study found that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh than people without heart disease. This study correlates with what doctors already knew: that mental stress is associated with impairment of the endothelium, the protective barrier lining our blood vessels.

Two studies by the American College of Sports Medicine back this up. They compared participants’ blood pressures while watching a comedy or a serious documentary. Comedy watchers had improved blood pressure and the positive effects lasted for 24 hours.

It makes sense to find opportunities and look for reasons to laugh each day.

Feel like you’ve forgotten what a laugh feels like? Spend some time with a toddler and let the grins begin.

For more info:

Laughter is Good for Your Heart, According to a New UMMC Study:
http://umm.edu/news-and-events/news-releases/2000/laughter-is-good-for-your-heart-according-to-a-new-ummc-study#ixzz2vrS9t8QF

American College of Sports Medicine , Laugh a Little to Help Protect Heart, Lower Blood Pressure: http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2011/08/01/laugh-a-little-to-help-protect-heart-lower-blood-pressure and
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/heart/articles/2009/05/29/laughter-can-boost-heart-health

Save the date

By Jena Williams

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It’s time to save the date and sign up to compete in the Washington Trucking Associations Truck Driving Championships & Step Van Driving Championships.

This is a great event for the whole trucking community. If you aren’t a competitor, you can still get involved as a judge or just bring your family and cheer on your team.

You won’t go hungry at this all-day event! Breakfast is sponsored by Safeway and lunch is provided by Unified Grocers. Be sure to stop by the Keep Trucking Safe booth to check out our training tools and get your free popcorn.

So save the date: Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Location: The Boeing Space Center at 20403 68th Ave South in Kent

For more information click: http://www.wtatrucking.com/Pages/Documents/Volunteer%20Recruitment%20Memo.pdf

Questions? Contact Mike: Mike@WTAssns.com or call (253) 661-8262 or (800) 732-9019

Groan

By Jena Williams

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Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins Sunday, March 9 at 2 am. That’s when you get to “spring forward” with your clocks by an hour, consequently trading an hour of sleep for an extra hour of daylight.

As we collectively groan about the loss of an hour of sleep, DST does provide a platform to discuss the importance of sleep and how we as a society tend to minimize it.

You may have heard that studies have shown an increase in heart attacks and car wrecks after the time change.  As pointed out in this article by Richard N. Fogoros, M.D., DST does not necessarily cause these issues. Sleep disruption causes them. But since over 80 countries follow DST, it gives us an opportunity to quantify what happens when billions of people all over the world collectively disrupt their sleep.

A sufficient sleep routine is vital to good health. Let that statement sink in for a moment.

If you regularly trade sleep time for getting other things done, you may want to consider if you are really willing to trade your health to get those things done.

If you want to not become a statistic this weekend, prepare for the change ahead of time by adjusting your sleep schedule incrementally to reduce stress on your body. Sleep specialists suggest that you start by going to sleep 15 minutes earlier on Wednesday night and waking 15 minutes earlier on Thursday morning, adding 15 minutes per day until the hour changes on Sunday.

Another thought, watch out for all the other drivers on the road Monday morning who didn’t prepare. Good thing you’ll be ready for them!

More info:

Does Daylight Saving Time Cause Heart Attacks? By Richard N. Fogoros, M.D. link: http://heartdisease.about.com/od/heartattack/a/DST_MI.htm

Video on preparing for the spring forward time change: http://news.yahoo.com/video/preparing-daylight-saving-time-163036980.html

Sleep Tips from Web MD: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/spring-forward-with-10-sleep-tips