Archives for February 2018
My dad was a trucker. While I would never put words in his mouth, I can state with confidence that, back in the day, it was commonplace for truckers to maintain multiple log books. No, of course it wasn’t legal. It also wasn’t realistic to leave Chicago on Tuesday morning and be in L.A. on Wednesday night. Many strides have been made in hours of service laws since the 70s and 80s for operators of commercial vehicles.
Most recently, the FMCSA has enacted the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule, which requires commercial vehicles subject to hours of service (HOS) restrictions to be equipped with electronic recording devices. In lieu of installing automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs), certain smart phones, tablets, and handheld devices can be used. All such alternative devices must be synced with the vehicle engine, via hardwire connection, to assure compliance. A list of self-certified devices can be found here. The ultimate goal of this rule is to create a tamper-proof system of documentation that assures compliance with hours of service regulations, and to promote safe work environments for commercial vehicle drivers.
The rule largely went into effect in December, 2017, with a 2-year compliance phase that extends to December 16, 2019 – the final date by which all carriers must be fully compliant. As with any rule, there are exceptions according to the FMCSA, and it is your responsibility, as an employer and as a driver, to understand those exceptions and assure compliance.
There was a lot of resistance to this rule, but I’m starting to hear good things. Several of my clients have indicated their drivers have adapted well to the ELDs and appreciate the lack of paperwork and convenience of the systems. I’d appreciate your feedback as well as you navigate this transition. How are your drivers adapting? What obstacles have you encountered?
Does your company maintain a commercial vehicle fleet? Are you responsible for workforce safety, risk management, or compliance? Contact us or give us a call at (816) 349-0850 to see how we can help design a safety and risk management plan that meets your unique needs.
February is American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day. What better time to show your employees how much you care about their safety? As an employer, your goal is to send every worker home safe and uninjured, every single day. Actions speak louder than words, and we’re here to help you build strong safety policies and safe work environments.
There’s still time to show the love at work. How do you do that in a meaningful way? Review your PPE standards, conduct some JHAs, evaluate your safety program. Don’t have a formal safety committee? What better time to build one.
Do your employees feel entrusted and empowered to halt work in progress for safety concerns? If you don’t have a “stop the line” policy, now is the time to develop one. Build trust through communication. Let your workers know their expertise and knowledge is valued. Encourage them to recognize and report serious safety hazards, even if it means stopping production to address the issue in real-time. The front line worker has critical insight to the environment, circumstances, work procedure, tools, and other variables that impact safety. Workers should know they have the option to halt the process without fear of reprisal.
This knowledge, trust, and communication is an employer’s most valuable commodity. Tap into it today.
Are you a safety manager or executive in charge of developing policies, procedures, and promoting safe work environments? Give us a call at (816) 349-0850 to see how we can help increase safety at your business.
National Burn Awareness Week is February 4-10
From silo fires to kitchen fires, burn hazards exist in every industry. Kitchen workers often suffer from open flame and grease burns. Automotive technicians commonly suffer chemical or thermal burns. Electricians are exposed to electrical burns on a routine basis. In honor of National Burn Awareness Week, we think it’s important to recognize the three main types of burns and know how to treat them. Regardless of industry, burns fall into three primarycategories.
Thermal Burns are caused by hot liquids (scalds), open flames, hot objects (metal pan handles, pipes, or other conductors), and explosions. The easiest way to protect workers from thermal burns is the mandatory use of personal protective equipment (heat-resistant gloves, aprons, etc.). Thermal burns are common. The damage they inflict, however, can vary greatly, ranging from surface skin layer to deep tissue.
Chemical Burns can damage the skin, the eyes, the nasal passages, and lung tissue. Inhalation, splashes, and spills are common causes of chemical burns. Chemical burns are caused by acids, alkaloids, and corrosives. Industrial cleaners, automotive fluids, and manufacturing solvents. Manufacturer labels should remain intact on all chemicals. Chemicals should be stored in approved containers and flammables should be stored in appropriate cabinets. Employees should be trained in Hazardous Communications.
Electrical Burns occur when persons come into contact with live current. Electrical burns occur as current courses through the body and can be immediately fatal. Damage can extend to internal organs, and heart attack is not uncommon with electrocution. High voltage areas should be secured to prevent general access. Only qualified personnel should work with electrical systems.
Elimination of a burn risk is obviously preferred, but not always practical. If the risk cannot be eliminated, administrative controls such as restricting access should be implemented, along with mandatory requirements for personal protective equipment. PPE may include flame-resistant or flame-retardant gloves, aprons, shoes, facial masks, or other gear. Portable fire extinguishers should be readily available, and appropriate for the exposure.
It’s also important to understand burn degrees:
1st degree burns are the least serious and damage only the epidermis, or outer layer, of skin. These burns typically do not require emergency medical treatment. You can run cool water over a first degree burn to cool the injury and alleviate pain. Cover the burned area with a sterile bandage or cloth, but do not use ointment. Seek medical treatment if the burn exhibits any signs of infection or you have any concerns about the extent of the injury.
2nd degree burns inflict damage beyond the epidermis and typically blister. These burns may or may not require emergency medical care, depending on the extent of the injury and its placement on the body. Remove all clothing from the affected area and cool the burn with water. Ice is not recommended. Cover the burn with a sterile bandage. Take precautions to prevent shock, as appropriate, and seek medical attention.
3rd degree burns damage all layers of the skin tissue, inflict nerve damage, and can be fatal. These burns often have a black, white, or leather-like appearance. Medical care is critical. Skin grafting is common. Call 911 immediately in the event of a 3rd degree burn, and follow instructions of emergency personnel.
There is also a 4th degree burn which penetrates to the bone and is essentially non-survivable.
In the case of burn injuries, an ounce of prevention is worth far more than a pound of cure.
We work with a number of paratransit companies that operate 12-passenger and 15-passenger vans to transport clients. While these vans are convenient for transporting larger groups of people, numerous studies have deemed these vehicles unsafe due to their high center of gravity and structural design Both the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) have issued regulations for safe operation of these vehicles.
Any decision to purchase and operate these vans should extend beyond convenience and cost and also consider the following safety factors:
- These vehicles have a higher center of gravity than other passenger vehicles and this center of gravity is impacted directly by the additional weight of every passenger
- The sidewalls of these vehicles are structurally designed for cargo transport rather than passenger protection
- The stability of these vehicles can be directly and substantially impacted by number and distribution of passengers, tire pressure, and high winds
- Posted speed limits are designed for passenger cars and light trucks, and not for large vans
Many organizations have phased these vehicles out of their fleets and replaced them with small school buses. For those of you who continue to operate these vans, there are steps you can be taking to increase safety.
- Carry no more than 9 passengers, including the driver
- Remove the rear seat from all 15-passenger vans
- Require all occupants to wear seat belts
- Review the MVR of all driver applicants prior to employment
- Assure proper training of all drivers
- Never operate these vehicles above 60 MPH
- Never load cargo, equipment, or other items on the roof of these vans
- Require drivers to conduct pre- and post- trip inspections
- Remove all tow hitches to prevent towing
FMCSA Guidelines and Driver Qualification for Motor Carriers of Passengers can be found here.
Protect your passengers, protect your drivers, protect your business. Safety first.