Archive for category tarping

Washington State Patrol Begins Litter Prevention and Secure Load Emphasis on April 15

On Monday, April 15, the Washington State Patrol will begin a 28-day patrol emphasis to crack down on motorists who throw roadside litter or travel with unsecured loads. The effort is being conducted in tandem with the Washington State Department of Ecology and state Department of Transportation. The emphasis is intended to improve the safety and environmental cleanliness of state highways and roadways.

The State Patrol reports that debris on Washington roadways causes approximately 400 collisions every year. Unsecured loads account for 40% of litter on local highways. Traffic violations for littering or failing to secure loads on highways can reach $5,000 and potential jail time. The highest fines are for throwing “lit debris” such as cigarettes and spilling larger items that can cause crashes leading to injuries and death.

Litter and unsecured loads are completely preventable. Don’t throw litter onto the roadway. Wait until you reach your destination and drop it in a proper waste receptacle or disposal facility. Make sure your load cannot slide, shift, fall, sift onto the roadway, or become airborne. Each load is different. Look for potential problems with your load. (Is it tall, narrow, double stacked, loose?) Develop a plan to safely secure each type of load.

Five Tips to secure your load:

  • Tie down load with serviceable rope, netting, chains or straps.
  • Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer.
  • Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting.
  • Don’t overload the vehicle.
  • Always double check load to make sure all is secure.

Visit Keep Trucking for training tools on how to safely tarp, strap, and stack your loads.

Washington State Patrol press release.


Tarping tips from Santa

By Jena Williams

Santa has safely performed billions of on-time deliveries and stayed injury-free for over 1,600 years. “How?” you ask?  Because he has mastered the art of safely tarping his sleigh, of course!

Allow Santa to give you some tips and you’ll be safely on your way, too!

Click image to try simulation.

Click image to try simulation.

Link to Santa’s safe-tarping simulation:

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Excerpt from: A Visit from St. Nicholas by CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE

Winter Olympics in Trucking?

By Jena Williams

Do you ever feel that you could medal in what you do, especially considering the time you accomplish it in? Should there be an award for the best in tarping or the loader with the most flair? You battle the cold and often times the ice. After years of training, what about a gold in tire chaining?

While not as coveted as gold, silver or even bronze, getting home safely at the end of the day truly has its rewards. And we at hope to help you get there by providing safety training on a variety of topics for trucking.

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned veteran, you can never stop training if you want to stay on top of your game.

Training tools for truckers:

Heavy tarps getting you down?

By Jena Williams

The jolly ‘ol elf has got some ideas to make tarping easier on you and your back. Check out this fun interactive training:

Need more ideas for safe tarping?

Check out toolbox talks at

Who doesn’t love to use a “cheat sheet” on a test?

By Jena Williams

Open book, cheat sheet, one 3×5 note card, you can use your review sheet on this test…Weren’t those the words that brought music to your ears back in school? What if your instructor told you that you can borrow the test taken by someone last year to study with? You’d know what they got right and what they missed and what to study. How cool would that be???

Well here’s your opportunity to study off of someone else’s test; in fact it’s your opportunity to study off the tests of everyone who took it over the past five years. A new report from Washington State’s Department of Labor & Industries gives you the most commonly missed topics on inspections in the state’s most hazardous industries. You have the privilege of learning from their experience and protecting your workforce at the same time!

Where does trucking rank in the top 25 hazardous industries? General Freight Trucking (NAICS 4841) rates number two as Washington’s most hazardous industry. The summary report released in December 2012 examines occupational injury and illness data including safety and health violations cited by industry from 2006 through 2010.

You’re probably thinking, so what, we know trucking is a risky industry, what good is another report that tells us what we already know? Well, my hope, and the mission of TIRES, is to use data to target the most common and costly injuries. And maybe, since this report also explores the most common violations found by DOSH, you can use the information to make sure your company is in compliance before that inspector shows up.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather learn from others’ mistakes or trials than my own…Yeah, I know, not very considerate, but why should we both suffer needlessly??? Below are links to the report by industry sector. It might save you time, money and a potential injury to a valuable employee to quickly run through the Top 10 Violations for your sector to make sure your company is prepared.

Injury-wise, this report reaffirms earlier research by TIRES that injuries to muscles, tendons and joints (musculoskeletal disorders), falls, and struck by injuries are the most common and costly injuries to address in the trucking industry. This is why we are continuing to work with and support you to eliminate these injuries. TIRES has produced materials to address the tasks where the injuries are occurring. We want you to be safe and we’ll do whatever we can to support you to get there.

Check these links out:

Entering and exiting the cab or trailer:

Walking around the work zone:

Strapping down or tarping the load:

Loading including manual handling:

Washington State Top 25 Hazardous Industries report:

It’s time to check your chains

By Jena Williams

Fall is here and winter weather is on its way. Prepare by inspecting your chains for wear and damage. Lay each one out for inspection, and then practice chaining the tires. Make sure you have practiced chaining all the trucks you may drive. You do not want to learn the tricks or read the instructions while sitting on the side of a busy road during a winter storm.

Take a moment to review the Washington Department of Transportation’s Minimum Chaining Requirements:

This is also a good time to make sure your cab is stocked with essentials in case you are stuck for a few days. Consider non-perishable food like protein bars. Do you carry extra medication in your cab? How about warm clothes? Extra water?

Once upon a time, we had the phone numbers of our nearest and dearest committed to memory. Not too long ago, I locked my keys AND my cell phone in my car. Even though a good Samaritan was there to offer me her cell phone, I had trouble coming up with phone numbers to call. Good grief! I really can’t survive without that phone, my brain is in there.

Today is the perfect time to memorize the numbers of those closest to you. Also, write them down in a couple of places where you can find them if your phone is lost, stolen or simply locked in your vehicle.

Here are links to safety training materials for cold and icy weather:

A truck driver’s winter survival kit:

More severe weather training:

Is there anything else you do to prep yourself or your rig for the winter elements? Please share your ideas with us in the comments below.

Stay safe this winter!

Protect your drivers by putting it in the contract

tarpingBy Jena Williams

You already know this and TIRES data confirms that tarping the load is a dangerous part of a driver’s job. We also know that often injuries from tarping or strapping loads occur at the customer site. But often, it isn’t really the customer site…it’s the side of the road outside their yard.

Yep, you know it’s true. Instead of a well-lit, level yard, with possibly the assistance of a forklift, your drivers are forced to strap and tarp, already dangerous jobs, on the side of the road. Good grief!

But what can you do without alienating your customer? Write it into the contract. I know, easier said than done! But really it isn’t.

Tell new and existing customers that you have a new policy in place to protect a very important asset to your company – your drivers. Tell them that from now on, they will need to allow strapping and tarping loads on site. If your customer has a tarping station, confirm that your driver will be able to use it. Tell them that you have the best drivers, the ones that will safely get their product where it needs to be and on time, but that this is a change that you absolutely must make.

Sure, you may lose a few customers, but I imagine when you let the word get out that you put your drivers first, your reputation will grow and you will gain a few. In all honesty, even those lost customers aren’t worth the fall injury or death of a single driver. I believe you really will come out on top in the long run.

I would love to hear from companies with success stories of working with customers to implement safer policies for your drivers – anything from improved lighting, to addressing trip hazards to getting forklift help for tarping.

How did you do it? What did you learn? What tips can you share?

These handouts were developed with your customers in mind. Hopefully they can help you address difficult safety topics with greater ease. Please copy and print as needed and send out with your invoices.

Safe trucking everyone!

Washington Trucking Associations’ Truck Driving Championships

By Jena Williams

Saturday morning was cold, windy and raining for the WTA’s Truck Driving Championship. But hey – that’s really perfect weather to show that you can drive in Washington! Tough truckers and their families stood in the rain to support their drivers and TIRES was there to share safety simulations.

Winners were announced at the event, and as soon as the results are released for publishing, TIRES will post a list of the winners on this blog so check back soon! Congratulations to the winners, contestants and families. It’s the highlight of our year to get out and meet you in person. Also glad that Washingtonians are too tough to let a little rain keep them from a great event with friends and family!

Link to WTA:

Links to TIRES safety simulations:

Slip, fall:


Don’t jump!

Tarping the load

tarping simulationBy Jena Williams

Tarping is one of the riskiest tasks in trucking. It would be great if everything could fit in a dry van trailer, but since that’s not likely to happen we’ve developed the tools listed below to demonstrate the next best options to safely get the tarp on the load.

We would like to hear the tricks of the trade have you learned to make tarping the load easier or safer. Click “Comments” below to share your ideas.

Click for more information on safe tarping.

Click to see TIRES E News for February.

HO! HO! HO! TIRES makes it on Santa’s NICE list!

By Jena Williams

In this cool simulation developed by TIRES, Santa demonstrates load tarping scenarios. What techniques do you use to reduce lifting and pulling of heavy tarps?