Archive for April, 2014

Honoring the fallen

By Jena Williams

Worker Memorial Bell

The Worker Memorial Bell located in L&I’s Memorial Garden

Workers’ Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28. On this date we remember those who died from on-the-job injuries and illnesses the previous year. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) will host a special ceremony for family, friends and the general public on Tuesday, April 29 to remember the 65 people lost in 2013.

Earlier this year, Keep Trucking Safe honored the 5 truck drivers who died as well. The link to that story is here: These men will also be honored by L&I tomorrow. Click here to see L&I’s news release on the event:

It is our mission at Keep Trucking Safe to prevent injuries and fatalities to truck drivers and other industry workers. To this end, all the materials at are provided free for you to use to keep workers safe at work.

If you’re wondering if all this safety and prevention stuff works, consider this – in the year 1912, 279 workers were killed on the job in Washington. Now we have a much larger workforce and fewer deaths. It does work. Let’s keep it up until no one is killed by their work.

We hope you will join us in honoring those who went to work in 2013, but never came home.

Washington State’s official Worker Memorial Day information:

More information on the national Workers’ Memorial Day:

History of Workers’ Memorial Day:

How important is fixing a pothole?

By Jena Williams

Injured man on groung

Winter does a number on the roads by breaking down asphalt and leaving tripping hazards in the form of potholes all over the yard. What can at first seem like a minor irritant can lead to major injuries if not taken care of.

Prevent injuries by inspecting your entire yard, marking and fixing potholes. It’s a small investment to repair what otherwise might cause an expensive injury.

Ask drivers to report yard damage found at customer sites as well. They may be protecting the next driver from a painful fall injury.

More info:

Keep on top of your yard:

Where do you begin to improve safety culture?

By Jena Williams


Just as everyone on a sports team is vital to the success of the team, everyone in a company is necessary to make the company safe. This is what it means to have a positive safety culture. Everyone in the company needs to feel that they can speak up on issues regarding safety and that when they do, management will be responsive.

There’s the catch. Management might believe they are projecting safety as a priority, yet they are bombarded by workers’ compensation claims that suggest employees aren’t working safe. Workers may believe that they aren’t given enough time or the right equipment to work safely and that speaking up won’t change anything.

If someone asked you if workers and managers at your company work together to ensure the safest possible conditions, how would you answer?

VitalSmarts, a research company that specializes in human behavior, interviewed 1,500 employees at 20 companies to find out why workers let unsafe practices slide. They found 5 areas where workers felt either unable or unwilling to address concerns about safety. Their conclusions will show you where to target discussions at your company to make the most impact:

1. Get It Done. These are unsafe practices justified by tight timelines. According to the results, 78% of respondents see their coworkers take unsafe shortcuts. These common and risky shortcuts are undiscussable for 75% of the workforce.

2. Undiscussable Incompetence. These are unsafe practices that stem from skill deficits that can’t be discussed. 65% of respondents see their coworkers create unsafe conditions due to incompetence, and 74% of workers say safety risks sustained by incompetence are undiscussable.

3. Just This Once. These are unsafe practices justified as exceptions to the rule. 55% of respondents see their coworkers make unsafe exceptions. Only one in four speak up and share their real concerns with the person who is putting safety at risk.

4. This Is Overboard. These are unsafe practices that bypass precautions already considered excessive. The majority of respondents—66%—see their coworkers violate safety precautions they’ve discounted. Almost 3 out of 4 either say nothing or fall short of speaking up candidly to share their real concerns.

5. Are You a Team Player? These are unsafe practices that are justified for the good of the team, company, or customer. 63% of respondents see their coworkers violate safety precautions for this cause. Only 28% say they speak up and share their concerns with the person.

Are any of these topics undermining safety at your company? Start by getting rid of the undiscussable issues. Shine light on these topics and make them discussable. Then, if someone asked you if workers and managers at your company work together to ensure the safest possible conditions, you can confidently answer – yes, we do.

Read the entire conversation with VitalSmarts here:

Open the door to the team approach to safety with this safety poster:

More on safety culture:

U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

By Jena Williams


April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and a prime time to reconsider our actions on the road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching a high-visibility enforcement campaign to crack down on texting while driving and with it they have produced a shocking and unforgettable YouTube video on distracted driving::

Many police jurisdictions are targeting distracted driving. If you get caught in Washington, you’ll receive a $124 ticket. If you are a commercial truck driver, your CSA score will be impacted. All this is really a minor inconvenience when you consider what could happen – distracted driving kills.

For more information:

National Safety Council:


DOT blog:

FMCSA regulation 392.82: Using a hand-held mobile telephone:

Washington state regulations:

RCW 46.61.668 Sending, reading, or writing a text message while driving:

RCW 46.61.667 Using a wireless communications device or hand-held mobile telephone while driving.