Archive for May, 2019

L&I’s FACE Program Reports on Truck Driver’s Crushing Death

The Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program has released a report on a 51-year-old truck driver who died at work when he was crushed between two trailers. The report is available in a one page version and slide show-version. The report describes the incident and investigators’ findings and provides recommendations to prevent other similar tragedies.

FACE is part of the Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) program within the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. FACE tracks, investigates, and distributes information about work-related fatal injuries in many industries, including trucking. Fatality reports include a short summary, an introduction, a background and description of the incident, the cause of death, and recommendations for prevention.

Secure Your Load Day is June 6th

National Secure Your Load Day takes place each year on June 6th. The observance reminds us about the importance of making sure drivers safely secure their loads before getting on the road.

Secure Your Load Day began with activist Robin Abel, the force behind Maria’s Law, which criminalizes improperly secured loads. Abel pushed for the law after her 24-year-old daughter Maria Federici suffered near-fatal injuries which left her blinded after unsecured particleboard from a rented trailer smashed through her car’s windshield on I-405 in Renton. Abel’s work has spread, attracting over 40 other states and territories to participate in Secure Your Load Day.

The Washington State Patrol reports that debris on Washington roadways causes approximately 400 collisions every year. Unsecured loads account for 40% of litter on local highways. Violations are punishable with costly monetary fines and potential criminal charges and jail time for severe offenses.

According to Lieutenant Mark Tegard of the Washington State Patrol “Unsecured vehicle loads are no accident. They are dangerous, sometimes deadly. All drivers have a responsibility to make sure their loads are properly secured at all times.” Troopers as well as environmental and road officials are always on the lookout for drivers with unsecured loads to keep roadways safe, clean, and clear.

Unsecured loads cause injuries and fatalities that are 100% preventable. Here are a few tips to help make sure your load is secure:

  • Binders, chains, nettings, and tarps must be securely fastened to the trailer.
  • Make sure unused dunnage, broken pallets, or other loose debris are cleared off your trailer.
  • Freight should be neatly stacked and tightly fastened inside trailers.
  • Don’t overload your vehicle.
  • Double check to make sure your trailer doors are properly closed.
  • Keep your cab clean to make sure trash or debris do not fly out of the window.

Visit the following links for additional information and resources:

News article about Robin Abel and her daughter Maria’s campaign to prevent unsecured load injuries and fatalities.

Washington State’s unsecured load law, also known as Maria’s Law.

Washington State Patrol’s lost or unsecured load reporting website.

FMCSA Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement.

Load securement resources and information provided by King County.

CVSA International Roadcheck is June 4-6

Washington State Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer performing Level 1 inspection Photo courtesy of Washington State Patrol

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will hold its 32nd Annual International Roadcheck inspection and enforcement blitz from June 4-6.  This year’s emphasis will focus on steering and suspension compliance, which ranked 6th among last year’s out-of-service violations. Steering and suspension systems are vital to vehicle and road safety. According to CVSA President Chief Jay Thompson of the Arkansas Highway Police, “Not only do they support the heavy loads carried by trucks and buses, but they also help maintain stability and control under acceleration and braking, keeping the vehicle safely on the road. Furthermore, they keep tires in alignment, reducing chances of uneven tire wear and possible tire failure, and they maximize the contact between the tires and the road to provide steering stability and good handling.” Previous Roadchecks have spotlighted categories of violations that include hours-of-service, hazardous materials/dangerous goods, cargo securement, and tire safety.

During the 72-hour event, commercial motor vehicle inspectors will be conducting high-volume, high-visibility North American Standard Level-1 Inspections of large trucks and buses at inspection sites, weigh stations, and roving patrol locations along major highways in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The 37-step inspection includes checking driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical systems. Inspectors will ask drivers to show their operating credentials and hours-of-service logs, check seat belt usage, and be attentive to alcohol and/or drug impairment. Mechanical fitness inspections include checking braking systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, and windshield wipers.

Drivers operating trucks that pass the Level 1 inspection will get a CVSA decal to indicate that their truck passed the inspection. Those that fail the inspection will be placed out of service until the mechanical defect or driver qualifications are corrected.

According to Captain Matt Couchmann of the Washington State Patrol’s Motor Carrier Safety Division, “The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has the goal of reducing the number of ‘at-fault’ commercial-vehicle-related collisions on state routes and interstates within the State of Washington.  A WSP strategy to achieve this goal is to participate in all federal commercial motor vehicle emphasis campaigns. International Roadcheck is one of these emphases.”

The Washington State Patrol ranks the most common commercial vehicle inspection violations in the following order:

  1. Lights
  2. Load Securement
  3. Tires
  4. Brake Adjustments
  5. Suspension

 

The top most common driver-related violations are, in order:

  1. Size/with of vehicle
  2. Failure to obey traffic control devices (left lane violations)
  3. Speeding
  4. Hours of service violations
  5. Seatbelts

 

One of the best ways to prevent costly violations is to do a pre-trip inspection. Sharpen up your inspection skills by using the pre-trip simulation tool from KeepTruckingSafe.org.

To learn more about the 2019 International Roadcheck, please visit the CVSA website.

National Missing Children’s Day is May 25th

Image source: U.S. Department of Justice

The annual commemoration of National Missing Children’s Day began in 1983 after several high-profile disappearances took place, including the kidnappings and murders of 6-year-old boys Etan Patz and Adam Walsh and the alarming recoveries of twenty-nine bodies of children and young adults in Atlanta. National Missing Children’s Day honors missing and abducted children while celebrating those who have been recovered. It also raises awareness of the need to improve the effectiveness of searching for those still missing.

The Problem

At the end of 2017, the FBI’s National Crime Information Center had active records on 88,089 missing persons. Children and young adults under the age of 21 accounted for 46.6 percent of the total records. Hundreds of thousands of new records are added each year, but fortunately most of these are found. The top circumstance for those who go missing is running away from home followed by abductions by non-custodial parents or strangers. One in seven of the more than 23,500 runaways reported in 2018 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely victims of sex trafficking.

Truck Drivers Can Help

Being on the road puts truck drivers in a vital position to be the eyes and ears that help find a missing child. The trucking industry is a hot spot for sex trafficking because truck stops are ideal places to offer sexual services because interactions between prostitutes and customers can easily remain anonymous with little law enforcement presence and close access to highways.

Drivers can join several awareness efforts that are in place to support this important work. Founded in 2012, The Truckers Missing Child Project uses social media like Twitter and Facebook to share information with truck drivers about missing children and Amber Alerts. The project’s secondary mission is to help end human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery, and child abuse and child porn, which often exploit missing children. Truckers Against Trafficking began in 2009 as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries. The organization’s goals include saturating trucking and busing industries with anti-trafficking materials, partnering with law enforcement and government agencies to help investigate trafficking, and working with other partners fighting against trafficking. Please visit these groups’ websites to learn more how you can help in this worthy cause.

Washington State Patrol’s Missing Persons Day on May 25th

This Saturday, May 25th, the Washington State Patrol Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit will hold its 1st Annual Washington State Missing Persons Day. Taking place in Olympia at the State Capitol from 10am-2pm, the event will raise awareness of missing persons in the State and give encouragement to their families and friends. Families attending the event will be able to check on their loved one’s missing person’s status report. Law enforcement staff will be available to obtain reference DNA from families to enter into a national data system that compares it against any unidentified persons recovered in the U.S. Parents will also be able to receive free Child Fingerprint ID Kits and other information to help them be prepared in case their child goes missing.

For more information about missing persons in Washington State, please visit:

Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs:

Washington State Missing Persons web site

Washington State Patrol Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit:

Amber and Missing Person’s Alerts

Get Ready for National Safety Month

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. During the month-long observance, thousands of communities, organizations, and health professionals will join together to help people identify dangerous and deadly hazards to prevent injuries and fatalities.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017 preventable injury-related deaths totaled 4,414, and medically consulted injuries totaled 4.5 million. Total injury costs were estimated at $161.5 billion, including wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor vehicle property damage, and employer costs.
Each week of National Safety Month will have a specific prevention focus:

  • Week 1: Hazard Recognition
  • Week 2: Slips, Trips and Falls
  • Week 3: Fatigue
  • Week 4: Impairment

It’s easy to participate in National Safety Month. Start by selecting and planning activities that will teach your employees how to be safe at work and at home. 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.

Check out the links below for resources to plan your events:

Free trucking safety training materials at KeepTruckingSafe.org.

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries training, videos & workshops.

National Safety Month training resources from the National Safety Council.

Take the SafeAtWork Pledge and let others know here.

On Your Marks! Get Set for the 2019 Truck Driving Championships!

The Truck Driving and Step Van Driving Championships will roll in Tacoma on June 22nd. Enjoy the fun and high energy excitement as Washington’s best drivers compete for spots in the national event in Pittsburgh. Last year, nearly 100 professional drivers across 9 truck classes competed for the top scores in the written test, pre-trip inspection, and skills courses. Bring your families and friends to support the drivers and the industry’s commitment to safety. And check out the trucks!

No registration is necessary for spectators – it’s free to attend!

You can also join the dedicated volunteers who make this amazing event happen by helping them set up the course or serve as a timekeeper or judge.

Make sure to stop by the TIRES tent to say hi and test your skills on our training simulations. Take some free injury prevention materials for your next safety meetings or trainings. We will also have mountains of fresh, hot, buttery popcorn to make your taste buds explode! Hope to see you all there!

The competition will take place on June 22nd at Reddaway Trucking, 802 E. 11th Street, Tacoma, WA (map).

Drivers report at 7am and the course will start around 10am.

To register, volunteer, or get other information about the event, please email mike@watrucking.org or contact the Washington Trucking Associations office at (253) 838-1650.

Safety Stand-Down Week to Prevent Falls in the Workplace is May 6-10

Falls cause more hospitalizations, disabling injuries, and deaths in Washington State than any other workplace hazard. Falls injure about 1,600 workers in Washington each year, that’s about 4 per day. In the trucking industry, falls account for about 20% of all injuries. Severe falls from heights rank first in average medical costs among all trucking injuries. The most common activities leading to falls among truck drivers include:

  • Entering or exiting the cab.
  • Falling off the back of the trailer or liftgate.
  • Falling off of a load.
  • Missing a step or getting a foot caught in a rung of ladder.
  • Ladders slipping out from underneath a worker.
  • Slips, trips, and falls around jobsites caused by debris, slippery steps, uneven surfaces, or inclement weather.

Fall injuries are 100% preventable. Here are a few tips to prevent falls for truck drivers:

  • Keep terminal yard and dock area surfaces well lit, even, and free of ice, snow, trash, potholes, liquid spills, and other debris.
  • Use 3 points of contact when exiting or entering your cab.
  • If possible, keep one hand on the side of the vehicle for support while walking around the vehicle.
  • Wear suitable and serviceable anti-slip footwear.
  • Keep tractor and trailer steps, decks, and grab handles clean and serviceable.
  • If possible, tarp loads only in areas protected from the weather.
  • If possible, stay off the load entirely.
  • Never stand or walk on the load or tarp, crawl on it instead.
  • Keep away from the edges of loading docks.
  • Wear calks if you are working on top of logs.

 

To raise awareness of fall prevention, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is partnering with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to sponsor “Safety Stand-Down” week from May 6-10. The annual event encourages employers to host events and discussions with their workers to identify fall hazards and prevent injuries.

Show your employees that you are committed to fall injury prevention by holding a Safety Stand-Down event in your own company. This could include short toolbox talks, refresher training, reviewing safety bulletins or watching a safety video.

Need resources for your event? L&I’s Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis (TIRES) project can help. TIRES offers free tip sheets, posters, interactive simulations, and true stories about injured truck drivers.

More information about Safety Stand-Down Week is available from L&I, OSHA, and NIOSH.

In Memory and Honor

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries held its Worker Memorial Day ceremony on April 25th to remember the workers who died in 2018 from job-related injuries or illnesses. Each year the agency invites the families of the fallen to attend the event, which includes comments from Gov. Inslee and other speakers, a reading of the workers’ names, and the ringing of the memorial bell in L&I’s Worker Memorial Garden. This year’s ceremony entered 91 names into the Worker Memorial book, which is on permanent display in the agency’s headquarters’ in Tumwater.

At Keep Trucking Safe, we honor those truck drivers who worked tirelessly to better the lives of their families and our community but tragically died as a result of doing their job. We remember the following truck drivers whose names were called among the fallen workers honored this year:

Nicholas J. Margeson, 38, Truck Driver

Died: May 10, 2018

Mr. Margeson was hauling two flatbed trailers loaded with rolls of grass turf when his rig left a state roadway and rolled over into a ditch.

Obituary

Scott R. Tryon, 54, Log Truck Driver

Died: September 18, 2017

Mr. Tryon was driving his truck when he came across trees and branches that were blocking the road. He used a chain saw and ax to clear the road. He got in his truck and slowly drove off the road. He died of a heart attack attributed to unusual exertion.

Obituary

Richard Sedy, 66, Log Truck Driver

Died: December 28, 2018

Mr. Sedy was driving a dump truck belonging to his own trucking company along a county road when the truck left the road and hit a tree.

Obituary

Ducas Aucoin, 59, Truck Driver

Died: May 14, 2018

Mr. Aucoin was using a forklift to unload a delivery of manufactured stone blocks from his truck to a new construction residence. The truck was parked on a steep angle street and as he was unloading the forklift rolled on its side, crushing him.

Obituary

Please add your remembrances in the comments. We have tried to find obituaries or news articles for all, but if you know of any we missed please add those too.

Thank you to Randy Clark and the Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program for providing the data.