Posts Tagged truck driver

Litter Prevention and Load Securement Emphasis begins May 28

Image of blue square with the text "Secure Your Load For Safer Roads!"

As a part of Washington’s new We Keep Washington Litter Free campaign, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) will be conducting statewide emphasis patrols over four weekends from May 28 to June 20. The patrols will coincide with National Secure Your Load Day, which takes place annually on June 6th to remind motorists about the importance of secure loads and litter prevention.

Unsecured loads and road debris cause serious traffic safety risks. According to WSP Sgt. Darren Wright, “Every year, road debris contributes to an average of nearly 90,000 property-related crashes on U.S. roadways. More than 17,000 people are injured from those crashes and over 700 are fatal. . .These crashes are entirely preventable and the power to stop them is in the hands of Washington drivers.” Debris on Washington State highways cause about 300 traffic crashes and 30 injuries every year. More than 12 million pounds of litter ends up on Washington roadways and up to 40% – almost 5 million pounds – comes from unsecured cargo and debris blowing out of pickup truck beds.

State 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. Violations for littering and unsecured loads are punishable with fines from $50 to $5000 and potential jail time for severe offenses that cause bodily harm or property damage.

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.

Tips for Truck Drivers

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.

If you see someone traveling with an unsecured load, pull over to a safe area and call 911 to report it.

Visit the following links for additional information and resources:

Washington State Department of Ecology:

Litter prevention website

Load securement tips

Tip sheet in English

Tip sheet in Spanish

Secure You Load Safety video

Washington State Patrol:

Secure Your Load video

King County:

Load securement resources and information

Secure Your Load for Safer Roads video

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

Driver’s Handbook on cargo securement

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National Missing Children’s Day is May 25th

Image source: U.S. Department of Justice

National Missing Children’s Day began in 1983 after several high-profile disappearances took place, including the kidnappings and murders of 6-year-olds Etan Patz and Adam Walsh, and the alarming recoveries of twenty-nine bodies of children and young adults in Atlanta. National Missing Children’s Day honors missing and abducted children while celebrating those who have been recovered. It also raises awareness of the need to improve searching for those missing.

The Problem

At the end of 2017, the FBI’s National Crime Information Center had active records on 88,089 missing persons. Children and young adults under the age of 21 accounted for 46.6 percent of the total records. Hundreds of thousands of new records are added each year, but fortunately most of these are found. The top circumstance for those who go missing is running away from home followed by abductions by non-custodial parents or strangers. One in seven of the more than 23,500 runaways reported in 2018 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely victims of sex trafficking.

Truck Drivers Can Help

Being on the road puts truck drivers in a position to be the eyes and ears that help find a missing child. The trucking industry is a hot spot for sex trafficking because truck stops are ideal places for prostitution as they have little law enforcement presence and close access to highways. Don’t intervene directly if you think you see trafficking taking place. Instead, gather as much information as you can, and then call 911 immediately if you think it’s an emergency or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline

Drivers can join several efforts that are already in place to support this important work.  Founded in 2012, The Truckers Missing Child Project uses social media like Twitter and Facebook to share information with truck drivers about missing children and Amber Alerts. The project’s secondary mission is to help end human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery, and child abuse and child porn, which often exploit missing children. Truckers Against Trafficking began in 2009 as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries. The organization’s goals include saturating trucking and busing industries with anti-trafficking materials, partnering with law enforcement and government agencies to help investigate trafficking, and working with other partners fighting against trafficking.

For more information about missing persons in Washington State, please visit:

Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs:

Washington State Missing Persons web site

Washington State Patrol Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit:

Amber and Missing Person’s Alerts

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In Memory and Honor

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries held its Worker Memorial Day ceremony on April 28th to remember the workers who died in 2020 from job-related injuries and illnesses. The virtual ceremony included remarks from Gov. Jay Inslee, representatives from the Association of Washington Business, the Washington State Labor Council, the Washington Self-Insurers Association, and Tina Meyer, whose son Cody was working as a flagger when he was hit and killed by a distracted driver in 2015. This year’s ceremony entered 119 names into the Worker Memorial book, which is on permanent display in the agency’s headquarters’ in Tumwater. The the names of the fallen workers were read aloud with the traditional ringing of the bell after each one.

At Keep Trucking Safe, we honor those truck drivers who worked tirelessly to better the lives of their families and our community but tragically died as a result of doing their job. We remember the following truck drivers whose names were called among the fallen workers honored this year:

Robert Douglas Brown, 51, Died: May 23, 2017

Mr. Brown passed away from angiosarcoma of the liver after years of chemical exposure at Hanford.

Thomas B. Witte, 75, Died: February 27, 2020

Mr. Witte passed away from complications of a traumatic brain injury that he sustained from falling and hitting his head on cement.

Obituary

Johnathon Bert Frase, 44, Died: April 8, 2020

Mr. Frase died after years of asbestos exposure that resulted in stomach cancer. (Hanford Presumption).

Ivan Cardenas, 34, Died: June 29, 2020

Mr. Cardenas was driving his log truck on a forest service road when he lost control on a corner and the truck left the road and rolled over.

Obituary

Dale H. Johnson, 21, Died: November 7, 2020

Mr. Johnson died of injuries resulting from a truck cab fire.

Obituary

Donald “Don” Jerome Grigsby, 70, Died: November 27, 2020

Mr. Grigsby succumbed to complications resulting from an industrial related motor vehicle accident.

Obituary

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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Safety Stand-Down Week to Prevent Falls is May 3-7

Image source: NIOSH

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. 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 3-7. The annual event encourages employers to educate and train their workers to identify fall hazards and prevent injuries.

Falls in Trucking

Falls in the trucking industry 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:

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.

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National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 26-30

As spring returns with warmer and longer days, roadway work zones will appear more often. That’s why it is time to remind ourselves as motorists that we share a responsibility in keeping work zones safe. National Work Zone Awareness Week is an educational campaign that invites government, business, safety professionals, and the public to help spread the word about work zone safety.

Although work zones are safer than ever, the risk of distracted drivers hitting road construction workers remains high. U.S. Department of Labor data indicates that vehicular incidents caused 444 roadway work zone fatalities across the nation between 2011 and 2018. The Washington State Department of Transportation reports that around 680 highway work zone injuries occur each year in the state. In the past 10 years, officers in the state have cited inattention in 5,335 work zone crashes.

Go Orange for Work Zone Safety

Orange makes work zones safer as the color of hi-visibility vests, traffic signs, cones, and barrels. National Work Zone Awareness Week will celebrate Go Orange Day, Wednesday, April 28 to show support for work zone safety and the families of victims who were killed in work zones.

Move Over or Pay

Washington State’s “Move Over” law requires drivers to proceed with due caution, slow down and, if safe, move over or change lanes when approaching any authorized construction or maintenance vehicle or worker in a designated roadway work zone. The rules specifically describe work zones to include adjacent road lanes 200 feet before and after stationary or slow-moving construction, maintenance, solid waste, or utility service vehicles that display flashing or rotating lights that meet state requirements for vehicle warning light systems. Fines range from $136 for failing to move over to $1,000 for reckless endangerment offenses. Penalties can also include jail sentences and driver’s license suspensions. Following the rules of the road will keep Washington State’s roadway workers alive and safe.

Use the following tips to keep work zones safe:

  • Slow Down – follow the speed limit, it’s there for your safety.
  • Be Kind – road crews are out there working to keep our highways safe.
  • Pay Attention – both to workers directing you and surrounding traffic; put your phone away when driving.
  • Stay Calm – expect delays, leave early or take a detour if possible; no meeting or appointment is worth risking someone’s life.

Use the links below get information and resources for your own National Work Zone Awareness Week event or training:

Washington State work zone traffic laws

RCW 46.61, Rules of the Road

RCW 46.61.212, Approaching emergency zones – Penalty – Violation

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries

Work zone and flagger safety

Asphalt worker safety

Keep Trucking Safe

No Distance, Know Pain tip sheet

Distracted Driving is Dangerous tip sheet

This is What Motorists See poster

National Work Zone Safety information Clearinghouse

Homepage

Washington State Department of Transportation

Work zone safety

Work Zone Safety Awareness Week

U.S. Federal Highway Administration

National Work Zone Awareness WeekWork Zone Management Program

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Get Ready for 2021 International Roadcheck

Washington State Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer inspecting trailer.
Photo courtesy of Washington State Patrol

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will hold its 33rd Annual International Roadcheck inspection and enforcement blitz from May 4-6. This year’s event will emphasize lighting and hours of service, which ranked 3rd and 1st among last year’s vehicle and driver out-of-service violations, respectively. According to CVSA President Sgt. John Samis of the Delaware State Police, “CVSA shares the dates of International Roadcheck in advance to remind motor carriers and drivers of the importance of proactive vehicle maintenance and driver readiness. International Roadcheck also aims to raise awareness of the North American Standard Inspection Program and the essential highway safety rules and regulations in place to keep our roadways safe.” Previous Roadchecks have focused on driver requirements, hazardous materials, cargo securement, and tire safety.

During the 3-day event, commercial motor vehicle inspectors will be conducting 37-step North American Standard Level-1 Inspections of large trucks and buses at inspection sites, weigh stations, and roving patrol locations along major highways in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Inspectors will review driver operating credentials and hours-of-service logs, check seat belt usage, and look for alcohol and/or drug impairment. They will also check braking systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveshaft, fuel and exhaust systems, frames, lighting devices, steering and suspension, trailers, tires and wheels, and windshield wipers.

Drivers who pass inspections will get a CVSA decal for their truck. Those that fail will be placed out of service until their violations are corrected.

According to Captain Matt Couchmann of the Washington State Patrol’s Motor Carrier Safety Division, “The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has the goal of reducing the number of ‘at-fault’ commercial-vehicle-related collisions on state routes and interstates within the State of Washington.  A WSP strategy to achieve this goal is to participate in all federal commercial motor vehicle emphasis campaigns. International Roadcheck is one of these emphases.” 

The Washington State Patrol ranks the most common commercial vehicle inspection violations in the following order:

1. Lights

2. Load securement

3. Tires

4. Brake adjustments

5. Suspension

The top most common driver-related violations are, in order:

1. Size/width of vehicle

2. Failure to obey traffic control devices (left lane violations)

3. Speeding

4. Hours of service violations

5. Seatbelts

One of the best ways to prevent costly violations is to do a pre-trip inspection. Sharpen up your inspection skills by using the pre-trip simulation tool from KeepTruckingSafe.org.

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Stress Less, Feel Better

Image of person with his head up high and eyes close with a title "Stop Stress In Its Tracks"
Image source: American Heart Association

Driving a truck requires being ready to take quick, sensible action at any time. Responding wrongly to a traffic hazard or other dangerous work condition can end in serious injuries, death, and costly damage. But maintaining a constant high level of readiness can be a challenge when workplace stress diminishes a driver’s mental and physical health. Medical research increasingly shows that chronic stress can raise the risk of mental and physical health problems. Prolonged stress can cause a driver to become a risk to themselves, their co-workers, and other motorists. Trucking companies can reduce workplace stress by including stress management and training in their safety programs.

Stress Factors and Symptoms for Truck Drivers

Truck drivers experience stress from several sources. Recent studies have listed the following factors as leading stressors among truck drivers:

  • Long routes and social isolation
  • Abrupt schedule changes, rotating schedules, long detention times, and tight deadlines
  • Compliance with hours of service regulations
  • Traffic delays and adverse road and weather conditions
  • Road rage and fear of violence
  • Vehicle noise, equipment vibration, and temperature extremes
  • Transporting hazardous freight

Signs and symptoms of stress include:

  • Fatigue
  • Digestive problems
  • Anxiety, headaches, and depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration issues
  • High blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke
  • Social withdrawal
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Workplace violence
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

Stress Management for Driver Safety, Health, and Wellness

A trucking company can reduce workplace stress by including a stress management and training plan in their safety program. Having such a plan can help employees identify workplace stress, its sources, and its effects on their safety, health, and wellness. It should also provide stress prevention and control methods for employees. Effective workplace stress management can improve driver health and wellness, equipment operation, attendance, productivity, employee retention, morale, and job satisfaction.

Stress management methods include:

  • Improving work schedules and driving routes that are more compatible with demands and responsibilities outside the job
  • Providing health, vacation, and retirement benefits
  • Balancing work and family life
  • Teamwork
  • Regular medical exams
  • Taking breaks and getting enough sleep
  • Eating healthy food and staying hydrated
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Preventing job hazards
  • Having a vehicle maintenance program
  • Arranging safe lodging when needed
  • Providing ergonomic equipment and well-fitting PPE

Plan a stress management plan for your safety program using these resources:

Keep Trucking Safe:

Dealing with Stress at Work

Got Stress? poster

Managing COVID-19’s Impacts on Driver Stress

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health:

Stress. . .at Work

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Workplace Stress Management

American Heart Association

Stress Management

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Distracted Driving is Dangerous

Image of text "Distracted Driving 3,142 Number of People Killed by Distracted Driving In 2019"

Distracted Driving Awareness Month takes place each April to bring national attention to the dangers of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2019, distracted drivers caused 3,142 deaths and many thousands of injuries on America’s roads and highways. That’s almost 9 people killed and hundreds injured every day. Washington State Traffic Safety Council data shows that distracted driving causes 30% of fatalities and 23% of serious injuries in crashes in the State of Washington.

Operating a motor vehicle requires full attention to the road, but distraction happens easily when you are driving and at the same time using a mobile device, changing radio channels, using a calculator, applying cosmetics, smoking, eating or drinking. Texting is one of the most dangerous distractions – it takes your eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the entire 120-yard length of a football field with your eyes shut. Driving while texting also increases your crash risk like driving with a blood alcohol content of 1.9.

It’s the Law

In 2017, Washington State passed a distracted driving law into the rules of the road. Getting ticketed for distracted driving is expensive. Fines start at $136 and can go up to $234 on repeat offenses. The citations stay on your driving record and increase your vehicle insurance rates. Federal law also prohibits texting by interstate truck drivers and forbids companies from requiring their drivers to text while behind the wheel. In addition to disqualification, civil penalties for truck drivers can reach up to $2,750 for multiple offenses, and $11,000 for companies requiring or allowing drivers to text while driving. Over 150 law enforcement agencies across Washington State participate in the Distracted Driving Awareness Month prevention effort.

Drive Safely

The best strategy to prevent a roadway incident is an easy one. Never take your mind off driving and always keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the steering wheel. Put away your cell phones and other handheld gadgets and objects until you are safely parked out of the flow of traffic.

Trucking companies should implement a cell phone policy in their safety program that prohibits drivers from using their cell phones while driving. Drivers also should not handle dispatching devices, maps, or food while driving.

Visit the following links to get more information and resources for distracted driving prevention:

Washington State traffic law:

Using a personal electronic device while driving

Dangerously distracted driving

Keep Trucking Safe:

Smart and safe cell phone use poster

Washington State Traffic Safety Council:

Distracted driving data, training resources and programs

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

Rule limiting the use of wireless communication devices

Distracted driving tips and training tools

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Be Wise, Protect Your Eyes

Image of title: "Prevent Blindness, Bringing Americans to Eye Care"

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month—a time to take a fresh look at preventing eye injuries at work. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that around 2,000 workplace eye injuries requiring medical care occur every day in the United States. About 20% of these injuries result in missing one or more workdays to recover, with 10-20% causing temporary or permanent vision loss.

The most common workplace eye injuries are from airborne particles and objects that strike, scrape, or penetrate the eyes. Chemical, thermal, and flash burns also cause many eye injuries. Welders, power tools, and solvents are major sources of such injuries.  

The best way to prevent workplace eye injuries is to have a company safety program that identifies, assesses, eliminates, and controls hazards that can cause such injuries. Your program should include performing job hazard analyses that identify eye injury hazards and prevention solutions. Providing safe equipment and tools, proper lighting, machine guarding, and employee training can prevent many kinds of eye injuries.

In addition, Washington State workplace safety rules require employers to provide appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to workers who are exposed to eye injury hazards. Depending on the specific hazard, PPE selection may include:

  • Non-prescription and prescription safety glasses
  • Goggles
  • Eye protection with side shields
  • Face shields
  • Welding helmets
  • Full-face respirators

PPE must meet current American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1 standards. The International Safety Equipment Association’s Eye and Face Protection Selection Guide can help you find the right PPE to keep your workers safe.

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Step Up for Ladder Safety

Falls from ladders cause more than 100 deaths and thousands of injuries each year in the United States. These incidents also include injuries to nearly 900 workers in Washington State. Improper ladder use ranked 7th among the state’s top 10 workplace safety and health violations in 2019. Now in its fifth year, National Ladder Safety Month takes place every March to educate, train, and involve the public in preventing ladder injuries and deaths at home and at work. Celebrate by having your workers take the American Ladder Institute’s free online ladder safety training. You can also show workers how to use the free ladder safety app from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Common causes of workplace ladder-related incidents include:

  • Lack of ladder safety training.
  • Ladder used is in bad condition.
  • Ladder moves, falls over, or is set up improperly.
  • Worker slips on the rungs, overreaches, or carries objects while climbing the ladder.
  • 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. 

The following links can help you train employees to use ladders safely:

Keep Trucking Safe tanker trailer ladder simulation tool and flatbed trailer ladder safety tips

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries ladder safety resources

OSHA ladder safety training fact sheets

OSHA construction ladders safety eTool

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