Archive for June, 2020

Late Won’t Kill, But Speeding Will

Image source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Law enforcement agencies across North America will participate in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual Operation Safe Driver Week from July 12 to 18. This year’s enforcement and education campaign will target speeding and other unsafe driving behaviors on America’s highways. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2016 reports that “Speeding of Any Kind” was the most frequent driver-related factor in fatal crashes for large truck and passenger vehicle drivers. The study attributes speeding to 32 percent of crashes involving large truck drivers and 89 percent involving passenger vehicle drivers.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, keeping the nation’s highways safe is especially critical to make sure essential supplies and equipment reach their destinations. According to CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police, “As passenger vehicle drivers are limiting their travel to necessary trips and many commercial motor vehicle drivers are busy transporting vital goods to stores, it’s more important than ever to monitor our roadways for safe transport.”

Speeding topped last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week’s list of most cited violations. Officers issued 1,454 citations and 2,126 warnings to commercial drivers and 16,102 tickets and 21,001 citations to passenger vehicle drivers. Other hazardous driving behaviors included distracted driving, texting, failure to use a seatbelt, following too closely, improper lane change, reckless or aggressive driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, and drunk or drugged driving.

As part of the national enforcement effort, the Washington State Patrol will strictly enforce the “Rules of the Road,” looking out for speeders and other unsafe driving behaviors. “The Washington State Patrol strives to always improve the safety of our commercial motor vehicle drivers, as well as the rest of the motoring public,” said WSP Commercial Vehicle Division Lieutenant Trisena Sharff. Speeding ticket fines in Washington can reach a penalty of $188.

Follow these tips to help you avoid speeding:

  • Go the speed limit.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Leave early.
  • Be patient.
  • Pay attention to traffic signs.
  • Regularly check the speedometer.

You should also slow down when:

  • In adverse road and/or weather conditions.
  • Entering a curve.
  • Before entering an exit/entrance ramp.
  • Hauling a loaded trailer.
  • Approaching work zones.

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June 9 is National Forklift Safety Day

National Forklift Safety Day 2020 will take place on June 9 to promote forklift safety best practices, operator training, and equipment inspections with the goal of preventing injuries, fatalities, equipment damage, and many other costly losses.

First used over 100 years ago, forklifts are vital to the commercial transportation and warehousing industry, being used to lift, move, and place freight weighing up to 70 tons. However, forklifts can be extremely hazardous when improperly used. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, forklift related incidents caused 614 worker fatalities and over 49,000 time-loss injuries between 2011 and 2017. Many incidents involved tip-over, crush, and struck-by events that harmed operators and pedestrians.

In trucking, the use of forklifts to load and unload trailers puts truck drivers at high risk of being crushed and struck. Unpublished Washington State workers’ compensation claim 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, ending in time-loss claims.

An excellent way to reduce the risk of forklift incidents is to perform a job hazard analysis (JHA). A JHA is a step-by-step procedure that involves four basic steps:

  • Selecting the job to be analyzed.
  • Breaking the job down into sequential order.
  • Identifying potential hazards.
  • Finding hazard prevention solutions.

Documenting your findings on a JHA form can help communicate forklift hazard prevention solutions to employees. Including the JHA process in your company safety program can help prevent tragic incidents and keep your employees safe at work.    

National Forklift Safety Day is a great time to step up your forklift safety training and education program for truck drivers, equipment operators, material handlers, and mechanics. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Hold a special safety meeting.
  • Plan a safety knowledge contest.
  • Celebrate successes.
  • Start a new safety practice.
  • Perform a job hazard analysis.
  • Conduct refresher training.

Review safety bulletins or watch a safety video. If COVID-19 poses a challenge, then consider watching the Industrial Truck Association’s virtual event at 9:00 AM ET on June 9. The event will feature speakers and presentations from forklift safety experts representing private industry and state and local government.

Click on the following links for free forklift hazard prevention training materials:

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries:

Safety Topics: Forklifts  

U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA):

Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool

Powered Industrial Trucks – Forklifts

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):

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

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Make Sure It’s Secure

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 fines from $228 to $5000 and potential 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. If you see someone traveling with an unsecured load, call 911 to report it.

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:

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.

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