Archive for category severe weather

Varinder Deol killed in a semi-truck rollover crash


Varinder Deol, a truck driver from Abbotsford, B.C., died on October 13, 2016. Varinder, the 39-year-old driver was killed when his big rig hauling a trailer rolled over on the express lane underneath I-5.  A second person from a nearby homeless encampment was injured and taken to Harborview Medical Center with minor injuries. There is no word yet on what caused the accident but troopers also noticed structural damage to a freeway support column and the State Department of Transportation was sent out to assess the damage.

In honor of Mr. Deol, please take this opportunity to talk with employees about how to stay safe on the road especially with these high winds and bad weather conditions.

Here are links to safety training materials:

Our condolences to all the families involved during this sad time.

If anyone knows where to find the obituary link, please feel free to leave a comment with the link.


Rain, rain, go away!

By Jena Williams


It looks like the rain isn’t going anywhere for a long while here in western Washington.

This morning a colleague relayed her commute into work to me – pouring rain, everyone driving crazy fast, cutting off trucks and each other; in other words, driving too fast for conditions. I get that Washingtonians feel impervious to rain and pride themselves on the idea that sheets of rain will not affect their driving.

I wish that were true. The fact of the matter is that wet roads have less traction as confirmed by the Federal Highway Administration and your own common sense. This means that unless you are a member of the Fast and Furious crew and have the help of Hollywood to defy the laws of nature, you will need extra stopping time.

So slow down and give trucks and yourself extra room to stop. Let’s all keep it safe out there.

Being prepared is not just for Boy Scouts

By Jena Williams


Whether you are beginning to dread the impending cooler weather or eagerly awaiting the fall colors, we all have to admit that summer is wrapping up and the days are getting shorter. This is a good time to prepare for darker days by checking your high-visibility clothing. If your vest or jacket has disappeared somewhere behind the seat, now is the perfect time to find it, and make sure it is still in good condition.

Now is also a good time to check or change the batteries in your flashlight, replenish your emergency food and water supplies and stock an extra set of warm clothes. This truck driver’s winter survival kit lists the essentials to have in your truck. Being prepared will help keep you safe.

Here are more ideas for preparing for severe weather:

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:

Preventing and treating heat exhaustion

By Jena Williams


As high temperatures continue, it’s important to stay vigilant in preventing and treating heat-related illness. Since truck drivers generally work alone and their health can affect others on the road, it’s important that they keep hydrated by drinking non-caffeinated beverages throughout the day.

Sip water frequently because by the time you feel thirsty, you are already somewhat dehydrated.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you may already be experiencing heat exhaustion:

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Muscle cramping
  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

What You Should Do:

  • Move to a cooler location.
  • Call someone to let them know the situation.
  • Lie down and loosen your clothing.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
  • Sip water.
  • If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.

If not treated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke which is life threatening.

Most importantly, don’t keep working your shift until you get your symptoms under control. Your safety is more important than your delivery. If your symptoms don’t subside call 911.

Source: CDC

Slip, sliding away…

By Jena Williams

This is the time of year to think about not slip, sliding away! Instead let’s focus on traction and how to stay on your feet in various elements. Learn from Santa as he demonstrates tasks, footwear and the co-efficient of friction. Who knew Santa was a physics genius?

Prevent Slips Training Simulation:

Here’s more for your toolbox talks on slip, trip and fall prevention:

Organized Chain Up?

By Jena Williams

It isn’t an oxymoron.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has developed an unprecedented plan to reduce congestion and improve safety around chain up areas on I-90’s Snoqualmie Pass.

If you are a frequent cross-state traveler, you have probably seen the lane construction and new signage along westbound I-90, three miles east of Snoqualmie Pass.

The plan is to increase communication and get rid of the confusion over when and where to stop to chain up.

In addition to labeling the chain-up zones, which can be hard to decipher with a layer of snow over everything, there will also be information about room available ahead to chain up so drivers won’t be stopping in the traffic lanes out of fear they’ll run out of space to chain up.

Be aware, stops will be limited to 30 minutes, so don’t plan to park and sleep it out. Prepare in advance with these chaining guides:

Take time to check your chains:

Tips for successful chaining:

Heading eastbound? Don’t despair! Eastbound traffic will see similar upgrades in upcoming years.

For more info from WA DOT:

Link to the Washington State Patrol’s MINIMUM CHAIN REQUIREMENTS for vehicles and combinations over 10,000 pounds GVWR:

Link to Washington State Commercial Vehicle Guide (page 1-2):

Tread lightly?

By Jena Williams

Slip and fall injuries plague the trucking industry during the winter months. There are a variety of factors to look out for: An early freeze can take down drivers when they go to leave their cabs first thing in the morning as will a slippery patch in a lesser-used portion of the delivery bay.  Ice and darker conditions often combine to, well, make things more of a challenge.

The good news is that you can prepare to take the challenge head on and prevail!

Drivers – check the tread on your footwear for wear. Put away the cowboy boots and sneakers and bring out the work boots.

Employers – inspect your bays and parking areas. Fill potholes and keep icy areas sanded. Enforce proper footwear.

What has task, environment and footwear got to do with it? This interactive training shows how all three impact the friction needed to keep you on your feet. In other words:  fun, comedic training for injury prevention:

Need safety posters and tip sheets? is at your service:

Wear the footwear of the pros:

Don’t let your footwear get you down:

Inspect your boots:

Stay safe out there!

Prepare now

By Jena Williams

With the sunshine we’ve seen this week, it’s hard to imagine that winter will be here soon. However, now, while it’s dry, is the perfect time to get ready for it. Inspect your chains and double check your emergency supplies.

Use these safety publications from to get started:

Emergency supplies for truck drivers

A truck driver’s winter survival kit:

Tire Chaining

Are you the tire chain master? Test your skills with this interactive tire-chaining simulation:

As always, free safety training materials are available 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: