By Jena Williams

A worker falling from a loading dock.

The Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls is in full swing at Washington State’s construction sites (May 4-15), but is a relevant topic for the trucking industry as well.

 What is a Safety Stand-Down? A Safety Stand Down is when you take a break from normal work activities to call a quick meeting with all workers to focus on a workplace safety topic – in this case, preventing falls.

Falls from elevation account for 11% of the injuries to Washington’s trucking industry workers and 16% of the costs to the workers’ compensation system for the industry.

According to our recent report, the majority of the falls are attributable to:

  • Entering/exiting the truck cab.
  • Falling off the back of the trailer or the liftgate.
  • Missing a step or getting a foot caught in a rung of a ladder (both attached to a truck and freestanding).
  • Ladders slipping out from underneath a worker.

It’s worth it to take the time to problem-solve fall hazards at your company.

Think of ways to engineer fall hazards out of your workplace. For example, there are a variety aftermarket tools available to equip your forklift to assist with tarping to keep workers off the load.  Check to see if there is an aftermarket gauge that can be used to check tank-trailers instead of requiring drivers to check manually from the top.

Get workers thinking about safety by asking them to point out the hazards they see and suggest ways to mitigate them.

During your Safety Stand-Down, ask drivers to check the treads on their boots to see if wear might cause a slip on the cab steps. Also check the tread on the cab steps and make sure the steps themselves are securely fastened. Stress again the importance of 3 points-of-contact and checking the ground for debris, oil or potholes before exiting the cab.

What interventions have you implemented at your company to prevent falls? We’d like to hear about them and how your Safety Stand-Down went. Please share your stories in the comments.

Additional fall prevention resources are available on our website at: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/slipstripsfalls.html

You can print these safety posters to post around your business. They can be printed on either letter-sized or 11”x17” sized paper.

Don’t fall for it!

Wear the footwear of the pros!

Why climbing technique matters

Consider the length of your career

Look before you leap

The tool you use for climbing matters

Don’t fall for it! (loading dock)

Keep up the good work! Together we can prevent injuries in trucking.