Archive for March, 2015

Hosting The Wall That Heals

By Jena Williams

American flag in foreground. The wall that heals in background

Interstate Distributor has a combined passion for safety and giving back to the community.

And as much as they commit to all of their employees arriving home safely, the company has a soft spot for soldiers who did not.

This week they have the honor of hosting “The Wall That Heals,” a 245-foot, half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC. More than 58,000 American soldiers died or were never recovered in the Vietnam War. Each name is remembered on the wall so their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

Mothers and widows were in the front row.

Mothers and widows were in the front row.

Many came to pay their respects.

All ranks were represented as many came to pay their respects.

The Truckload Carriers Association partners with the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Fund to bring the replica to veterans and families that may never get to see the original in Washington DC.

Finding loved ones.

Finding loved ones.

James Reed, Interstate Distributor

James Reed, Interstate Distributor

James Reed, CFO of Interstate Distributor, shared remembrances for Darrel Zane Wright, a soldier from his hometown of Port Orchard who died on February 6, 1968:  To see Sgt. Wright on the Wall of Faces: http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/57466/DARREL-Z-WRIGHT

Mike Southards, Safety Director at Washington Trucking Associations, found his classmate from Zillah High School, Russel E Butler. PFC Butler graduated in 1967 and was killed July 21, 1968. To learn more about PFC Butler: http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/7193/RUSSEL-E-BUTLER

Mike Southards pointing out Russel Butler’s name on the wall.

Mike Southards pointing out Russel Butler’s name on the wall.

The memorial travels with a mobile education center to share the story of the Vietnam War and educate all generations about the impact of the Vietnam War. Companies in the Truckload Carriers Association compete to donate their time and resources to transport the wall.

Interstate's dedicated matte black tractor "Honoring our Heroes"

Thank you to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Fund, the Truckload Carriers Association and Interstate Distributor for partnering to bring the replica to Tacoma, Washington.

Soldiers, whether active duty, veterans or families, we appreciate your sacrifice.

 

More information:

Interstate Distributor: http://www.intd.com/news/interstate-distributor-host-wall-heals/
Interstate also has a Military to Commercial program to bring former military to work in the trucking industry.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund The Wall That Heals: http://www.vvmf.org/twth

Truckload Carriers Association: http://www.truckload.org/Home

Safety Director shares how their company became a model of worksite safety and health

By Jena Williams

Gary Fitzmorris, Director of Safety & Compliance, Harbor Wholesale Foods

Gary Fitzmorris, Director of Safety & Compliance, Harbor Wholesale Foods

Thirty years at a family-owned company where you started out stocking shelves can give you a lot of perspective. You go from being the insecure, new kid to becoming a seasoned employee. You see personalities come and go, but most importantly, the company becomes your extended family. When Gary Fitzmorris took over as the Director of Safety & Compliance at Harbor Wholesale Foods he wanted more than safety rhetoric to protect this company.

Getting started

Gary looked for opportunities to mine the wisdom of workers and leverage the tools already available. At locations in both Lacey, Washington, and Roseburg, Oregon, he incorporated Keep Trucking Safe training materials and simulations into his new hire and refresher training programs. In Oregon, he took advantage of a specialized program designed by Oregon OSHA to develop an “exemplary injury and illness prevention program.” This required inviting their consultation program in and agreeing to correct all hazards they might find, among other requirements. Recently, in response to their dedication to safety, Harbor Wholesale Foods (Roseburg) was recognized as a model for worksite safety and health by the Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP)* administered by Oregon OSHA.

Getting buy-in

Gary believes employee involvement and management support is what makes their safety program successful. One program that was developed at their Oregon location and is soon to be implemented in Washington is the Bi-Quarterly Safety & Information meeting. He says each meeting is 5-15 minutes long and includes all employees on a shift. It’s designed to be an open forum for discussion of anything safety-related.

He admits that at first, the meetings were pretty quiet, but they just kept having them and over time ideas and suggestions started coming in. One example of a cheap and easy fix that came from a safety issue brought to the company’s attention through these meetings was the development of a reach hook. The problem was that when boxes got caught up on the gravity rollers, workers would need to climb up on the racks to get them to slide down. To prevent the need to climb and the resulting fall hazard, they engineered a reach hook so workers could stand on the ground while moving the merchandise forward.

Reach hook engineered and made in-house.

Reach hook engineered and made in-house.

Reach hook nudging a hung up box down the rollers.

Reach hook nudging a hung up box down the rollers.

Gary noticed increased engagement by the workers when they saw him make good on his commitment to address all issues or topics that are brought up and report back on the status at the next meeting.

Gary appreciates the very important role the safety committee has in identifying and addressing safety concerns at their distribution centers. He believes that the safety committee is the backbone of the safety program. Their safety committee is made up of a diverse group of employees representing all aspects of the operation. Safety issues identified by the committee are quickly assigned to be addressed by the person or department best suited for the topic. As with the Bi-Quarterly meetings all issues are followed up on. Supporting documents follow a reported issue from the time it is reported until it is reviewed at the next monthly safety committee meeting. This includes making sure the person who brought up the concern is informed of the resolution.

Before making a change

Gary and the safety committee run new equipment purchases and work methods through a change analysis (reviewing the pros and cons of the new method or equipment) to thoroughly consider changes before implementing them to make sure no new hazards are created. If there are new hazards discovered, they are carefully analyzed to determine if the change eliminates more risk than it creates. Every employee that works in the area or could be impacted is included in the change analysis.

The whole company wins when safety becomes a core value shared by everyone.

Free safety training materials are available at www.KeepTruckingSafe.org.

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*Not affiliated with Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program in Washington.

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