Archive for category slip, fall prevention

L&I’s FACE Program Releases Work-Related Fatalities Report for 2018

The Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program recently released their Work-Related Fatalities Report for 2018. In 2018, 76 workers died on the job in traumatic incidents. The industry with the highest fatalities was Transportation and Warehousing with 13 fatalities. In this industry, 6 heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers died on the job, 10 fewer than in 2017. The report describes the incidents and provides resources 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.

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 Memoriam

Last month we recognized Worker Memorial Day, this month we’d like to acknowledge that a good portion of the workers lost in 2017 were truck drivers. In fact 15 truck drivers died on the job last year. That is 2 more than 2016. We are working to prevent this trend from continuing. By: Jena Cole

Last month we recognized Worker Memorial Day, this month we’d like to acknowledge that a good portion of the workers lost in 2017 were truck drivers. In fact 15 truck drivers died on the job last year. That is 2 more than 2016. We are working to prevent this trend from continuing.

Every driver needs to return home safe at the end of the day. We at TIRES will continue to work with industry leaders to develop safety training to get us there.

Drivers, we appreciate you and want you to stay safe.

Together we can prevent work-related deaths in trucking.


Drivers we lost:

Stephen Poch, 66, Truck Driver

Died: February 1, 2017

Mr. Poch was standing on top of a tanker oil truck to check its level while loading when he tripped and fell 8 feet.


Timothy Koelzer, 62, Truck Driver

Died: March 1, 2017

Mr. Koelzer was unhooking a lowboy trailer when the trailer fell on him.


Freddy Shoenbachler, 62, Truck Driver

Died: March 27, 2017

Mr. Shoenbachler, a truck driver at a metal recycling plant, was drilling a hole in a natural gas cylinder that was on top of a bus. The tank rapidly depressurized once the drill bit penetrated the cylinder, resulting in him being thrown 20 feet off the bus.


Bradley Donovan, 46, Truck Driver

Died May 11, 2017

Mr. Donovan, a semi-truck driver was driving a truck along an interstate highway when he braked for traffic his truck rear-ended another truck and then swerved and hit a Jersey barrier.


Miguel Penado, 58, Truck Driver

Died: May 15, 2017

Mr. Penado, a truck driver employed by a moving company, was driving a semi-truck carrying a load of cardboard boxes along a state highway when the truck left the roadway and crashed into a power pole.


Steven Osburn, 60, Truck Driver

Died: July 6, 2017

Mr. Osburn was driving a semi-truck and trailer along a state highway when a box truck veered across the centerline and struck his vehicle. Both drivers died at the scene.


Kenneth Fennix, 25, Truck Driver

Died: July 6, 2017

Mr. Fennix was driving a box truck along a state highway when his vehicle veered across the centerline and struck a semi-truck. Both drivers died at the scene


Edward Hedrick, 57, Truck Driver

Died: July 17, 2017

Mr. Hedrick was exiting the cab of his truck which was parked in his employer’s truck yard when he slipped or tripped, hitting his head on the truck’s steps.


Tyler Hardy, 26, Truck Driver

Died: October 23, 2017

Mr. Hardy was driving along a county road when he lost control of his truck, which then left the road and rolled over.


Garrett Raphael, 26, Truck Driver

Died October 24, 2017

Mr. Raphael was crushed by the box van he was driving when he stepped out of the van and the van rolled forward, pinning him against the wall of a building.


Aaron Cochran, 44, Log Truck Driver

Died: October 31, 2017

Mr. Cochran lost control of his fully loaded log truck on a curve of a state highway.


Cheryl Wrona, 61, Truck Driver

Died: November 27, 2017

Ms. Wrona, a truck driver at a hay farm, was pinned between hay bales and the back of a freight container being loaded.


Thomas Phelps, 51, Truck Driver

Died: November 29, 2017

Mr. Phelps was employed by a compost business where he drove a truck. He died by suicide at his place of employment.


John Gonzalez, 54, Truck Driver

Died: December 18, 2017

Mr. Gonzalez was driving his semi-truck on an interstate highway when he lost control of his truck on a corner and crashed into a concrete pylon.



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.

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Get a grip - don’t slip

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 10.40.28 AMA 36-year-old, local flatbed driver suffered a broken ankle when he lost hold of a grab handle and slipped down the steps from his tractor’s catwalk.


The incident occurred as the driver prepared to haul a load of heavy construction equipment.


He had just connected his tractor to a lowboy trailer, and was starting the required pre- trip vehicle safety inspection. After checking the air hoses and electrical connectors at the rear of the cab, the driver turned to climb down from the catwalk using steps attached to a side-mounted fuel tank.


He clamped his hand around a grab handle on the headache rack to support himself down the steps, but the handle’s odd mounting location broke his grasp. Unable to maintain 3- points of contact, the driver slipped, and his foot became trapped in the steps. X-rays of his swollen right ankle revealed a fractured bone. The injury resulted in direct costs of over $26,000 and left the driver and his employer unsure about his return to work.

Click here to view the full Narrative

Have you considered a Safety Stand-Down?

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:

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.

Severe weather calls for appropriate footwear

By Jena Williams

Click image to try the simulation.

Click image to try the simulation.

We all want to prevent falls. Even slips without a fall can cause painful tweaks to backs, necks or knees, so it’s important to keep slip prevention on the front burner especially as the weather changes. Shine the spotlight on the topic with this fun simulation.

Change the driver’s footwear, task and environment to tackle topics like:

  • Appropriate, slip resistant footwear
  • Walking carefully instead of rushing
  • Cleaning up or reporting spills or debris
  • Reporting worn cab steps or potholes in the yard for maintenance

Employers should develop a process to prevent slips by dealing with icy conditions or water accumulation at work sites.

Bonus: Click for a truck driver’s winter survival kit

Slip prevention, a topic for summer

By Jena Williams

Worn diamond plate has been repaired with a slip-resistant cover.

Worn diamond plate has been repaired with a slip-resistant cover.

Now, before fall rains and winter ice, is the perfect time to evaluate and maintain the non-slip surfaces on courier steps, loading docks, ladders and cab and trailer entry points. Take advantage of the dry conditions to apply anti-slip treads and tape.

Slick concrete in warehouses and loading docks can be re-coated with anti-slip surfaces as well. Worn diamond plate steps can be re-treaded and loose steps re-welded.

Have you considered investing in canopies for your loading docks to prevent rain accumulation on the surface? My guess is that you can negotiate a better deal from suppliers during this, their slow time.

Injury prevention doesn’t get a summer vacation, but you can use the hot summer sun to your advantage and get the jump on slip and fall prevention for the rest of the year.

This fun training simulation tests the co-efficient of friction in relation to slips and falls:

Saved by the handhold

By Jena Williams

Entering cab using 3 points of contact

Have you ever wondered if retro-fitting trucks or trailers with handholds are worth the investment? After talking with many injured workers, we can assure you that they are. A well placed handhold can make the difference between an injury and a non-event.

Some tips

Keep it consistent: People are creatures of habit and muscles have memory. The more consistently placed the handles, the more likely people are to reach for (and depend on) a handhold, rather than grab for a phantom handle.

More is better: This is true in more than one way. 1) Put handles on both sides of trailers, not just one. 2) If a shorter or taller worker needs a different location, add another handle rather than moving the one that is there so that if drivers slip-seat, a new driver won’t be injured.

Ask for feedback: Ask workers if the handle placement is working for them or if there are changes that need to be made. Asking questions like this opens up communication lines and improves the safety culture of the company.

This is also a good opportunity to remind workers to use 3 points-of-contact. Below are links to materials to help.

Often small investments in safety can make a huge difference in injury prevention.


Links to trailer/cab entry and exit training

Printable materials:

Online simulation:

Local company owner challenges the status quo and makes the job safer

By Jena Williams

Jack Belmont

Jack Belmont, Owner, Belmont Enterprises Inc.

To most of us, the status quo is comfortable and change is, well, less comfortable. But some people aren’t willing to accept that the status quo is as good as it gets.

Jack Belmont, owner of Belmont Enterprises Inc. in Tumwater, Washington is one of those people who doesn’t accept that how business has always been done is how it needs to continue.

Here are a few of the changes he’s made to make his company safer, both for his employees and for the motoring public.

Belmont Enterprises hauls raw glass sheets, known in the industry as “stoce.” Stoce sheets are hauled in nearly vertical stoce racks that traditionally were strapped into place by a driver that climbs a ladder to hook straps and place guards over the stoce.


Old method of attaching straps by climbing ladder, and reaching over sharp edges of (stoce) glass.

Old method of attaching straps by climbing ladder, and reaching over sharp edges of (stoce) glass.

Jack used to lie awake at night worrying that a worker would fall and slice themselves on the stoce. Then it came to him: there was no need to climb a ladder and to attach straps! He could design a system of permanently attached straps that could keep the worker off of the ladder.

Jack’s system is now in place and works perfectly. Using an aluminum rake, a worker can manipulate the straps and lift the guards into place while standing on the trailer bed.

Aluminum rake for adjusting straps

Swivel top, no ladder, tie down system is adjusted using an aluminum rake from trailer bed level.

Aluminum rake also lift stoce guards

Aluminum rake also lifts stoce guards into place.

Jack also listens to his employees when it comes to how to get the job done safer. There’s nothing more frustrating and harder on the shoulders than when a trailer curtain get snagged up. One day a driver suggested to Jack that it would be better if there were sleds on the top of the stoce rack to keep the curtain from snagging. The employee made wooden ones to test and Jack created the aluminum ones. The sled is another simple solution that saves time and prevents injuries.

Sled suggested by an employee of Belmont to prevent the trailer curtain from snagging on the stoce rack.

Jack is also willing to go above and beyond to protect the motoring public. He shared that a standard load of stoce is strapped to the frame with just two straps. He notes that so many things can go wrong in a scenario with just 2 straps. If one strap loosens in transit or if a driver forgets one of the stoce guards, the load can be lost on a public highway.

First, Jack addressed this scenario by adding a cut-proof cable to the tops of his straps. Then he went even further by challenging a general belief in the glass hauling industry: most companies stick with 2 straps because they believe that the glass needs to be able to flex in transit or it’ll break. Jack tested a third strap. It worked great and now they have the extra insurance of a backup strap.

Early in his career, he assisted in the cleanup of a spilled load and was willing to do anything to prevent another. He didn’t give up until the problem was solved.

Safety doesn’t happen by accident. Thoughtful solutions are waiting to be found.

What solutions have you developed to make your job safer? Share them in the comments.

Link to more information on the swivel top, no ladder, tie down system:

Link to company profile on Jack Belmont:




How important is fixing a pothole?

By Jena Williams

Injured man on groung

Winter does a number on the roads by breaking down asphalt and leaving tripping hazards in the form of potholes all over the yard. What can at first seem like a minor irritant can lead to major injuries if not taken care of.

Prevent injuries by inspecting your entire yard, marking and fixing potholes. It’s a small investment to repair what otherwise might cause an expensive injury.

Ask drivers to report yard damage found at customer sites as well. They may be protecting the next driver from a painful fall injury.

More info:

Keep on top of your yard: