Archive for February, 2020

March is National Ladder Safety Month

Falls from ladders cause over 100 deaths and thousands of disabling injuries each year in the United States. These incidents also include injuries to nearly 900 workers in Washington State. Improper ladder use ranked 8th among the state’s top 10 workplace safety and health violations for all industries in 2019.

National Ladder Safety Month takes place every March to educate, train, and involve the public in preventing ladder-related injuries and fatalities at home and at work. The yearly observance began in 2017 as an initiative of the American Ladder Institute, the only approved developer of ladder industry safety standards in the country.

Common causes of workplace ladder-related incidents include:

  • Lack of ladder safety training.
  • The ladder used is in bad condition.
  • The ladder moves, falls over, or is set up improperly.
  • The worker slips on the rungs, overreaches, or carries objects while climbing the ladder.
  • The worker stands on the ladder’s top step.

The following tips can help keep workers safe while using ladders:

Plan for the job:

  • Use the right ladder for the job with the proper load capacity.
  • Inspect the ladder for defects and remove unsafe ladders from service.
  • Use a fiberglass ladder if there is any chance of contact with electricity.

Set your ladder carefully:

  • Set the ladder on a firm, level base, and angle it per the manufacturer’s guidance.
  • Don’t set the ladder near exit doors or near the path of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
  • Make sure the ladder extends 3 feet above the landing.

Climb safely:

  • When climbing, use three points of contact — keep 1 hand and both feet or both hands and 1 foot in contact with the ladder at all times.
  • Never carry any load that could cause you to lose balance.
  • Never stand on the top step of a ladder.
  • Don’t pull, lean, stretch or make sudden moves on a ladder that could cause it to tip over.

Use the resources below to help you plan and train for the safe use of ladders:

Keep Trucking Safe tanker trailer ladder simulation tool

Keep Trucking Safe flatbed trailer ladder safety tips

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries ladder safety webpage

OSHA ladder safety training fact sheets

OSHA construction ladders safety eTool

NIOSH Ladder Safety app to improve extension and step ladder safety

 

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Safe Truck Drivers Have Healthy Tickers

February is American Heart Month, an annual observance that reflects on the seriousness of heart disease. Since the tradition began 56 years ago, advancements in medical research, treatment, and education have greatly helped people live longer and healthier lives. But heart disease still remains America’s top health threat and number one killer, claiming around 2,300 lives each day.

Heart disease is a major health problem among truck drivers. Research shows that truck drivers have higher heart disease rates than other workers. Truck drivers also have a higher prevalence of risk factors of getting heart disease, including obesity, hypertension, and smoking. These risk factors stem from lifestyle and occupational factors such as irregular schedules, long hours, physical inactivity, high stress levels, and limited access to healthy foods on the road. Age, gender, race, ethnicity, and family history can also influence a person’s risk of getting heart disease.

Heart disease can interfere with the ability to control and drive a truck safely. In a sample of 182 fatal truck collisions, the National Transportation Safety Board attributed 10% of collisions to medical problems, with 90% of them being heart-related. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, a result of high blood pressure and plaque buildup in the arteries. The buildup can create blood clots that block blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack. Truck drivers who feel heart attack symptoms should pull over safely and call 911 immediately. Warning signs of a heart attack can differ between men and women. While chest pain and discomfort are most common to both, women are more likely to have the following symptoms:

  • Back and/or jaw pain.
  • Nausea, shortness of breath, cold sweats, and dizziness.
  • Unusual fatigue.
  • Indigestion and abdominal pain.
  • Pain and discomfort when resting or sleeping.

As it raises safety risks, heart disease can potentially disqualify a truck driver from holding a commercial driver’s license. Drivers should not wait to be disqualified or for a serious incident to happen before realizing the importance of heart health. In addition to following your doctor’s orders, consider the healthy habits below to prevent heart disease:

  • Control your blood pressure.
  • Keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Manage stress.
  • Manage diabetes.
  • Get enough sleep.

Companies can help their drivers beat heart disease by enhancing their safety programs to include:

  • Training on healthy diets, smoking cessation, exercise breaks, and stress management.
  • Providing fitness facilities at your terminals, locating truck stops that have them, and offering gym memberships.
  • Teach drivers about power naps and sleep hygiene.
  • Have incentive programs that motivate and reward healthy lifestyles.
  • Provide health insurance.
  • Allow time in driving schedules for medical visits.

Check out the following websites for more information and resources:

National Institute of Health’s American Heart Month and MedlinePlus.

American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women initiative.

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