Archive for June, 2018

Washington State’s “Move Over” Law Changes, Makes Work Zones Safer

By: Paul Karolczyk

On June 7, Washington State traffic laws changed to improve roadway work zone safety. The new law requires drivers to proceed with due caution, slow down, and, if safe, move over or change lanes when approaching any authorized construction or maintenance vehicle or worker in a designated roadway work zone. The new rules describe work zones to include adjacent road lanes 200 feet before and after stationary or slow-moving construction, maintenance, solid waste, or utility service vehicles that display flashing or rotating lights that meet state requirements for vehicle warning light systems. Fines range from $136 for failing to move over to $1,000 for reckless endangerment offenses. Penalties can also include jail sentences and driver’s license suspensions. The changes follow House Bill 2087, which passed with full legislative support to expand the previous “move over law” for first responders and emergency vehicles.


Our mobility depends on the people who build, repair, and maintain highways, streets, and bridges. Every day their roadway work zones place them near serious hazards that include being dangerously close to motor vehicle traffic. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that passing vehicles killed 248 roadway construction workers between 2011 and 2016. That’s almost 1 fatality a week. Following the rules of the road will keep Washington State’s roadway workers alive and safe.


Find more information here:


House Bill 2087 Summary


RCW 46.61, Rules of the Road


RCW 46.61.212, Approaching emergency zones – Penalty – Violation


L&I DOSH roadway worker safety training resources:


Road construction work zone safety presentation


Flagger safety


Asphalt worker safety


WSDOT Work Zone Safety resources

Operation Safe Driver Enforcement Spree, July 15-21

By Paul Karolczyk

Law enforcement agencies across North America will participate in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual Operation Safe Driver Week from July 15 to 21. The enforcement and education campaign targets unsafe driving behaviors of commercial truck, bus, and passenger vehicle drivers.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Studyreports that unsafe driver behavior is a leading reason for two-vehicle crashes between trucks and passenger vehicles.  Unsafe driving is attributed to 88 percent of truck-caused crashes, and 89 percent of passenger vehicle-caused crashes. Topping the list of unsafe driver behaviors are: traveling too fast for conditions, making an illegal maneuver, legal drug use, unfamiliarity with the roadway, and fatigue. The FMCSA reports that between 2015 and 2016, fatal crashes involving large trucks rose by 3.4 percent, from 4,074 to 4,213. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, 37,461 people were killed in all crashes on U.S. roadways during 2016, a 5.5 percent increase from 35,485 in 2015.


The Washington State Department of Transportation indicates that in 2017, heavy trucks were involved in 69  crashes that killed 74 people, and 134 crashes that seriously injured 164 people, an increase of around 12 percent from the previous year. Most truck-involved crashes in the State took place on major freeways, especially in the I-5 corridor.


During Operation Safe Driver Week, state troopers and commercial vehicle inspectors will be on the lookout for unsafe driving behaviors. Last year, truck drivers across the country received 30,714 warnings and 8,164 citations. State and local moving violations accounted for 84 percent of these, followed by speeding, failure to use seatbelts, failure to obey traffic control device, and using a cell phone. Another 20,315 warnings and violations went to passenger vehicle drivers.


For more information:


Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance:


Hot Topic: June is National Safety Month

By: Paul Karolczyk

Started in 1996 by the National Safety Council, National Safety Month takes place annually in June to raise awareness of the leading causes of injury at work, at home, and on the road. This year’s theme is “No 1 Gets Hurt.” Across the country, thousands of communities, organizations, and health professionals are joining together to help people identify hazards and prevent injuries.

Each week of National Safety Month will have a specific focus:

  • Week 1: Emergency Preparedness
  • Week 2: Wellness
  • Week 3: Falls
  • Week 4: Driving

It’s easy to participate in National Safety Month. Start by selecting and planning activities that will teach your employees how to be safe in and out of the workplace. Some ideas to help get you going include having a safety fair, 5-minute toolbox talks, tip sheets, hands-on training, holding a lunch-n-learn, safety trivia contests, and safety excellence awards.

Need help getting started? Free trucking-specific training and simulation tools, tip sheets, newsletters, and posters are available at

Other resources:

L&I Training, Videos & Workshops

NSC National Safety Month resources

Get On Board with National Forklift Safety Day, June 12

Get On Board with National Forklift Safety Day, June 12

By: Paul Karolczyk

Developing over 100 years, forklifts have become indispensable to freight handling in the commercial transportation and warehousing industry. As the most common type of powered industrial truck, forklifts are used in all types of work environments to lift, move, and place loads reaching 70 tons. While crucial to business, forklift operations can also be hazardous to employees. According to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 412 workers were killed in forklift-related incidents from 2011 to 2016. In the same period, the Bureau found that 42,180 workers sustained serious time-loss injuries in a survey of 230,000 private establishments and state and local governments. Top causes of forklift incidents include tip-over, crushing, and struck-by hazards.

In trucking, the regular use of forklifts to load and unload trailers puts truck drivers at high risk of being crushed or struck. Unpublished Washington State workers’ compensation data shows that 501 forklift-related injuries occurred within the general and specialized freight trucking sectors between 2006 and 2018. This represents 36 percent of the total forklift-related injuries in the State’s transportation and warehousing industry. A third of these injuries were serious, resulting in monthly time-loss claims.

The Industrial Truck Association initiated National Forklift Safety Day in 2014 to promote forklift safety awareness throughout the United States. The annual event engages private and public stakeholders to emphasize safety best practices, operator training, and daily inspections to prevent injuries, fatalities, equipment damage, and many other costly losses.

Give a boost to forklift safety in your workplace by holding a Forklift Safety Day event that educates truck drivers about forklift hazards and safe operation. This could include having a special safety meeting, safety knowledge contests, celebrating successes, starting a new safety practice, refresher training, reviewing safety bulletins or watching a safety video. Make sure that truck drivers who use forklifts as part of their job are well trained, evaluated, and retrained as necessary.

Find forklift safety training materials for truck drivers at

Tight Squeeze Forklift Safety Posters from


Other Resources:

L&I Safety and Health Topics: Powered Industrial Trucks

DOSH Forklifts Training Kit

DOSH Forklift Safety Guide

OSHA Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool

NIOSH Alert: Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Workers Who Operate or Work Near Forklifts

Industrial Truck Association