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Peer reviewed journals

Work related injuries in Washington State's Trucking Industry, by industry sector and occupation.
Smith C. Williams J. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2014. Click here for the complete article. Or for the short version, here are the research findings.


Assessment of perceived injury risks and priorities among truck drivers and trucking companies in Washington State.
Spielholz, P. et. al. Journal of Safety Research, 2008. Click here for the complete article.


The information provided on the linked sites is solely the view of the authors and does not reflect the official views of SHARP and / or L&I.

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Revive your safety training with the interactive tools below

Transfer trailer safety
This course teaches prevention of common traumatic injuries in the paving industry.
Fall from ladder

What is safety climate?
Safety climate is the new catch phrase in occupational safety circles. But what is it? And what does it mean to your company? Find out in this 5 minute training:
What is safety climate?

Prevent falls from ladders
Based on the true story of a driver painfully injured from rushing down a ladder.
Fall from ladder

Fatal crush
Use this true story to prevent similar incidents
Crush Prevention

Chaining up
Find the safety gear that the driver is using!
Chain up

Lever vs. Ratchet
Is there really a good reason to switch from a tool that has gotten the job done for years?
Load binders

Lifting heavy items can cause injuries to your back and shoulders over time. The driver demonstrates the pros and cons of getting the tarp on the flatbed.


Prevent slips
Slips, trips and falls cause many injuries in trucking. Changes in footwear, tasks and environment matter. Test your knowledge by clicking the slip simulation below.
Friction simulation

Jump Force
Know the forces involved in exiting your truck cab or trailer. Try our force simulator: Click here to access..
exit game

Partner news

How Do You Develop a Successful Safety Training? Published by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, April 2015.
TIRES: Helping to Reduce Work Related Injuries in the Commercial Trucking Industries Published in Northwest Transporter, Vol 16, Issue 1, Winter 2013.
Don't Jump! Published in Transport Topics Online, November 2011.
Risk - Part of the Job? (85 KB) Published in The Route, September 2010.
Even on Foot, Trucking is Risky Business Published in Transport Topics Online, June 2009.

Company Corner

Would you like to share your company's safety success story? Click here to contact us.


Click on a company to read their success story:

Lynden Incorporated

Employer Profile, James Maltby, Director of Health, Safety, Security & Environment
December 2015

Patriotic Employer Award

James Maltby was recently recognized by the Office of the Secretary of Defense as a Patriotic Employer. This award recognizes employers that give high levels of support to their employees who are part of America’s National Guard or military reserves..... Click here for entire story (195 KB PDF).


Washington Trucking Associations

Interview with Mike Southards, Safety Director
December 2015

When safety is a lifelong achievement

The Washington Trucking Associations recently honored Mike Southards with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Safety. He tried to refuse it recalling believing his work didn't measure up to the work of other honorees.... Click here for entire story (306 KB PDF).


Country Green Turf Farms

Interview with Will Jones, Transportation
September 2015

Safety professional of the year - making sure everyone goes home safe

Although he wasn't raised to think about safety, when he found himself responsible for the lives of the people that he managed, he knew his greatest responsibility was to make sure that everyone went home safe at night.... Click here for entire story (180 KB PDF).


Harbor Wholesale Foods

Interview with Gary Fitzmorris, Director of Safety & Compliance
March 2015

How to become a model for worksite safety and health

Thirty years at a family-owned company where you started out stocking shelves can give you a lot of perspective. You go from being the insecure, new kid to becoming a seasoned employee. You see personalities come and go, but most importantly, the company becomes your extended family. When Gary Fitzmorris took over as the Director of Safety & Compliance at Harbor Wholesale Foods he wanted more than safety rhetoric to protect this company.... Click here for entire story (276 KB PDF).


Safeway Inc.

Interview with G.C. Faricloth Jr., CDS, Regional Transportation/Warehouse Safety Superintendent
October 2014

Rogue driver turns safety director extraordinaire

Seventeen years ago, no one would have believed that G.C. Faircloth
Jr. would someday receive the Safety Professional of the Year award
from the Washington Trucking Associations. Click here for the rest of the story (162 KB PDF)


Tacoma Motorfreight Service

Interview with Marty Johnson, President
September 2014

Company president shares the pain of losing an employee to an on-the-job fatality

Lonnie "Homie" Olsen was a star employee who always put his customers first... Click here for entire story


Premier Transport Inc.

Interview with Jill Snyder, CDS, Safety Director
July 2014

Getting to know Jill Snyder, Safety Professional of the Year

Jill Snyder, CDS, can really be considered a pioneer in the field of safety in Washington's trucking industry.


In 2000, she was the first woman and only the second person in Washington to achieve... Click here for entire story


Belmont Enterprises Inc.

Interview with Jack Belmont, Owner
June 2014

Local company owner engineers safety innovations

Jack Belmont’s company, Belmont Enterprises Inc, of Tumwater, Washington hauls raw glass sheets, known in the industry as “stoce.”

Stoce hauling normally requires drivers to climb ladders so that they can reach over the stoce to hook their straps into the stoce rack. This creates not only a fall hazard, but also the added bonus of being sliced open by the glass on the way down.

Jack recalls lying awake at night worrying about employees falling and getting cut on the glass. Click here for entire story.


Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Inc.

Written by: Dustin Hustad, Driver
December 2012

Hanging Iron

A Driver’s Guide for Chaining Tires What follows are some tips for “hanging iron.” Start with a thorough inspection of your chains. If you were not the last person to use the chains, then you need to pull them all off and inspect every link and cam before you leave the yard. The side of a mountain is no place to discover all your cross links are broken, or that you don’t have enough chains to do the job. Also, familiarize yourself with the chain laws in the states you will be driving in as they are all different. Click here for the full story (PDF)


Miles Resources

Interview with Safety Professional of the Year: Doug Stiffarm, Safety Director
August 2012

Get up, work hard and learn to be better

So says Doug Stiffarm, this year’s winner of the Safety Professional of the Year award at the Washington Trucking Associations’ Day with the Winners.


As a second generation truck driver and a 27-year employee of Miles Resources (formerly Woodworth & Co.), Doug has worked his way up through the ranks and understands the concerns of employees at all levels. After working as driver, paving foreman, dispatcher, and purchasing manager, he applied for and accepted the challenge of a leadership role in safety in 2004. Doug believes doing your best, being respectful and accountable are especially important in the trucking industry.


When asked about his philosophy on safety, Doug said, “Safety is not an act or a rule. It is personal to each employee. I believe we all want to go home each night as healthy as we came to work.”  He has an open-door policy regarding safety, “God gave us two ears for a reason – we need to listen 50 percent more than we talk. You will be amazed how much you can learn.”


Doug teaches his new employees to never to be in a hurry, never second guess yourself, and always trust your gut as it is usually right. He also tells them to listen to the senior drivers because they have seen and experienced it all.


“You drive a rolling billboard and your actions, both good and bad, will reflect on your company’s success and failures,” he says.

When new federal or state legislation changes a policy or practice, Doug takes the time to explain and educate employees. He says it can be a challenge to get experienced employees to change a routine practice that they have never been hurt doing, but open communication and thorough training makes buy-in easier.


Doug is modest about his win, crediting all safety professionals for their efforts to keep trucking industry workers safe.

“I come to work each day to learn how to be better. I am successful at safety not because of me personally, but because of the people who work safely each day.”


The Safety Professional of the Year award is presented to the safety professional whose company and colleagues believe that he or she has made an impact on safety in their company and in the industry. The individual must have a passion for safety that is shown by their dedication and ethics.

Click here to print this story.


Gordon Trucking Inc.

Interview with: Scott Manthey, VP - Safety and Compliance
January 2011

Success comes from everyone working together for safety

TIRES: How did you get involved in the safety aspect of trucking?

Scott Manthey: I had the opportunity to work for a carrier that like GTI [Gordon Trucking, Inc.] put safety ahead of every other part of the business. It was easy to develop the passion for safety especially when you work with people that share the same feelings. Click here for the full story (PDF)


Farmers Business Insurance

Guest author: Herb Maxey, CSP, Sr. Loss Control Consultant, Farmers Business Insurance
Winter 2010

Are injury investigations necessary?

As we go through everyday business we can experience what is called an incident/accident event. This is an unintended occurrence that may result in injury or death to workers and usually results in time lost from production. Usually, after an incident has occurred management will do whatever is necessary to return the business back to normal operations. This can include a refocus of employee attention, replacement of damaged material and equipment, treatment of any injuries or arrangement of medical care for employees. What doesn’t occur in most cases is an effective investigation into how it happened (Root Cause Analysis) and most importantly what can be done to prevent the incident from reoccurring. A Physicians Report of Injury that documents that the accident happened and a brief description of what happened, e.g., employee slipped and fell, is not an effective investigation.


It is management’s responsibility and legal obligation to investigate all injury incidents and it is a sound business practice to investigate non-injury occurrences. This means to determine what failed in an incident, not just that the employee slipped but what caused the employee to slip. The investigation needs to be carried out to the point that management can identify action(s) that will prevent a similar occurrence.


Management needs to learn from an unintended event. If they don’t learn then it is likely that the unintended event will happen again perhaps with greater consequence such as major property loss or injury that results in death. Not only do we not want to see an employee injured but unintended events are costly. In today’s business world, the survival of a business requires that your business activity be conducted in the most cost-effective manner. Safety is cost effective.


Most informal investigations will conclude that the employee needs additional training. This may be a valid conclusion to an investigation but not a complete one. Has the training been reviewed to make sure it is current or is it ten years old and based on equipment and processes that are outdated? If it is determined that the employee needs retraining or counseling then that should occur but this is not the most effective means of incident prevention. Can the job hazard be eliminated? Can less-hazardous chemicals be used? Does management support safety over production? An effective investigation cannot conclude that the occurrence was simply an employee error. Management’s role in all incidents is to identify and institute measures to prevent another occurrence. Management is required by regulations to identify hazards within the work place and then it is management’s responsibility to remove the hazard, engineer the hazard out of the operation, or protect the employee from the hazard.


For additional assistance on incident/accident investigation contact Labor and Industries Consultation or your insurance representative.


Farwest Freight

Guest interview: G.C. Faircloth, Safety and Risk Director
Spring 2009

Getting to know Farwest Freight

TIRES: How long have you worked for Farwest Freight?
GC: I’ve been with Farwest just over a year now. It’s actually going on 14 months.

TIRES: How long have you been in the trucking industry?
GC: Life-long, going on 26-plus years now.

TIRES: How did you get involved in the safety aspect of trucking?
GC: A guy by the name of Bruce Binder at Gordon Trucking was my mentor. Gordon was looking for an ‘HOS’* Coordinator. I had been driving for a number of years and they wanted someone who knew the system. They felt I was someone who had a good rapport with the other drivers. In the time I held the HOS Coordinator position the ‘driver out of service’ for HOS violations rate dropped from 4.8 to 1.3.

TIRES: In what ways is the management at Farwest involved in the safety program?
GC: I didn’t have to do much. Company ownership and management already have the philosophy that safety is important. It’s a part of the daily conversation among the employees and management. Also, we are of such a size that we only have three levels of management, so it makes having a consistent message and culture easy.

TIRES: What makes the Farwest safety program successful?
GC: One of the best things is the owner support. All along the view is “get it done right at the beginning.” Another factor is that I’ve got years of ‘stick time’ and I know the challenges the drivers face. I’m also pretty much hands on. There is a place for technology, but you get so much more from face-to-face interaction.

TIRES: What changes have you made to the program since coming to Farwest?
GC: In building on what already existed, we now do more driver-reminder messages and we do a regular newsletter where we highlight safety-related topics as well as other company information.

TIRES: How are those changes working?
GC: I’ve gotten positive feedback from the drivers. They appreciate that we are looking out for them.

TIRES: How have you involved the drivers, dispatchers and management in safety?
GC: They are a part of the process. By that I mean that they feel ownership. Their feedback is important and asked for.

TIRES: What are your challenges related to safety at Farwest?
GC: Prioritizing tasks, keeping our older drivers healthy and keeping the fleet accident rate down. It’s no secret that the average age for drivers is creeping up and recovery time from an injury can take longer.

TIRES: What elements make up your safety program?
GC: We offer a KOS**/light-duty program and we have a safety/accident review committee. Each year we recognize our driver’s safety performance. Drivers that qualify by meeting the established criteria are eligible to win a new pickup. Each of the qualifying drivers is given a key to the truck; one lucky driver’s key actually starts the truck. Also, in August we have a driver appreciation week for all of the drivers.

TIRES: In closing, what suggestions or advice would you like to share with other safety directors?
GC: Be involved with your drivers, a minimum of desk time. You’ve got to show them that you care.

* Hours of Service ** Kept on Salary


Boise Inc./BCT

Guest author: Craig Lockwood, Safety Manager
Summer 2009

Dealing with distracted driving - Ban of cell phone use while driving supported by science and experience

People driving Boise Inc. trucks or hauling Boise trailers as independent contractors are no longer allowed to use cell phones until they are safely off the road and stopped, according to a policy adopted earlier this year.
It was a simple matter of looking at the science and statistics.


A 1997 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine provided early evidence of cell phone use as a distractive danger to drivers. The Journal reported that the risk of crashing while using a cell phone was four times greater than the risk without the phone.


Another study showed that drivers were 18 percent slower to react to brake lights while using a cell phone. Scientists determined that slowed reaction times of drivers while talking on a cell phone made them “less adept than drivers with blood alcohol levels exceeding .08 percent.’


A Harvard Center of Risk Analysis study estimates that cell phone use while driving contributes to 636,000 crashes annually. They estimate the cost of those cell-phone related crashes at $43 billion.
Several studies have found that using hands free equipment doesn’t reduce the danger. A University of Utah study showed that it’s the distraction of the conversation, not the equipment, that creates the danger.


The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that the number one driving distraction was “Using a wireless device, such as a cell phone.” Number ten on the list was “Daydreaming.”


Finally, the National Safety Council, citing many of the findings above, called for a ban of all cell phone use while driving.


Given the overwhelming evidence, our trucking division created the cell phone ban — drivers aren’t allowed to make cell phone calls and are instructed to let incoming calls go to voice mail. Other employees aren’t allowed to talk with drivers on their cell phone unless the drivers are stopped and safely off the road. Violations on either end of the call may lead to termination.


While we don’t yet have data to measure the effectiveness of this policy, we believe we’ve done the right thing given the scientific evidence, mounting data and the rising number of cell phone related wrecks.


APPROACH Management Services

Guest Writer: Neal Cronic, Safety Specialist
Summer 2008

The value of a good safety director

The trucking company was having a tough time. There were not enough drivers to get the trucks onto the road. Injuries had affected the company. The large premium that the company paid out, combined with the shortage of drivers, was hitting hard. This is a true story of a trucking company that was a diamond in the rough, needing just some safety direction to become successful. This is also the story of how this particular company lowered its premiums dramatically, going from an average annual injury cost in the mid-six figures to under $3,000. Truly, the company reduced its annual injury costs by over 100 times in a year and a half.


The company brought in an experienced full-time Safety Director. First an in-depth injury analysis was performed. Once the injuries were categorized by what, where, when, why, and how, the results were prioritized and used in a comprehensive safety and health plan. This particular plan was revised quarterly, according to changes in injury trends. For example, after an 80% reduction in lower back strains, the plan was changed to address struck-by injuries. For struck-by/against, load securement was a big issue, as was the need to open cargo doors very slowly at first, and communicating with loaders at load and unload zones. A similar prevention plan was drawn up for vehicle collisions, and used in a similar way. In addition to directly addressing root causes, a weekly safety newsletter was issued. Ownership backed the safety program 100%.


My company was enlisted to help with existing L&I claims. Light duty and kept-on-salary programs were introduced to keep the injured workers on the job and to let them know that the company cared.


All of these factors turned the company around. The salary of a good Safety Director was easily offset by the reduction in costs related to injuries, collisions, and premiums. Just over two years after hiring the Safety Director, the company also received a handsome retro check. It was a win-win situation for everyone. The workplace is safer, employee morale is at an all time high, and the trucks have drivers.


Frito-Lay, Inc.

Guest author: Marty Ertler, CDS, West Division Fleet Safety Manager
Spring 2008

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure refers to the force of blood pushing against artery walls as it courses through the body. Like air in a tire, blood fills arteries to a certain capacity. Just as too much air pressure can damage a tire, too much blood pressure can threaten healthy arteries and lead to life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and stroke.


High blood pressure is the most common of all cardiovascular diseases in the industrialized world. It is the leading cause of stroke and a major cause of heart attack. In the U.S. alone, approximately 80 million people have high blood pressure.


A blood pressure reading appears as two numbers. The first and higher of the two is a measure of systolic pressure or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number measures diastolic pressure or the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. Normal blood pressure rises steadily from about 90/60 at birth to about 120/80 in a healthy adult.


In most reported high blood pressure cases in the U.S., the underlying cause cannot be determined. This type of high blood pressure is called essential hypertension. Other factors that have been associated with essential hypertension include obesity; diabetes; stress; insufficient intake of potassium, calcium and magnesium; lack of physical activity; and chronic alcohol consumption.


The Department of Transportation has revised the accepted BP level to qualify for CDL licenses from 160/90 mmHg to 140/90 mmHg or lower.


You can help keep your blood pressure at a healthy level and reduce your risk of heart disease by making a few changes in your lifestyle. Watch what you eat. Stay away from salt and fat. Consume foods that are high in fiber, calcium, and magnesium.


Get plenty of exercise. Regular exercise will condition the heart and keep blood vessels dilated and working properly. If you are overweight, try to slim down. Even a small weight reduction can make a huge difference. If you smoke or drink alcohol excessively, now is the time to stop. Make a change, make a difference!