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March Newsletter

Truck Impact Guards

FMCSA to include rear impact guard examination in annual inspection

On December 29, 2020, the FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking requiring rear impact guards to be examined as part of the annual inspection for each commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The proposed rule comes in response to petitions from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and a recommendation included in Government Accountability Office Report GAO-19-264. FMCSA is also proposing to amend the labeling requirements for rear impact guards, and to exclude road construction controlled horizontal discharge trailers from the rear impact guard requirements. Click here for more.

Independent Contractor Rule

Final Rule delayed by Biden Administration

A Department of Labor (DOL) final rule (Independent Contractor Rule) left over from the Trump Administration which sought to bring clarity to the independent contractor vs employee debate has officially been delayed by the Biden Administration. The “Independent Contractor Rule” was supposed to take effect on March 8, but was delayed until May 7. However, on March 11, the DOL issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to withdraw the final rule. Taking direct aim at the ABC test adopted by the California Supreme Court, the final rule explains that the inquiry into economic dependence is conducted by applying several factors, with no one factor being dispositive. Additionally, it states that actual practices are entitled to greater weight than what may be contractually or theoretically possible. The final rule sharpens this inquiry into five distinct factors, instead of the five or more overlapping factors used by most courts and previously the Department. Click here to continue reading.

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

In 2017, the FMCSA established requirements for the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse), a database under the Agency’s administration that contains information about violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program for the holders of commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). This rule is mandated by the Agency’s MAP Act. The Clearinghouse gives employers, the FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), and State law enforcement personnel real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders’ drug and alcohol program violations. Click here for more information.

Zero-Emissions Trucks Rule

In June of 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a rule (Advanced Clean Trucks regulation) that requires truck manufacturers (from Class 2b to Class 8) to transition from diesel trucks and vans to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024. By 2045, every new truck sold in California must be zero-emission. This is the start of a big push in the U.S. to transition away from diesel fueled vehicles to electrified vehicles. The “don’t get left behind” mentality will undoubtedly mean that it’s just a matter of time before it spreads nationwide. In Virginia, State Senator Steve Newman says that the state is about to adopt the most radical standards in the country (California emissions standards). He continued by saying that legislation already passed by the House and Senate (House Bill 1965) is not a good idea. Click here to continue reading.

February Newsletter

10 Winter Driving Tips From a Seasoned Driver

Being on the road in the winter requires drivers to stay on their toes, says EMC Senior Engineer Jim Stotser. And Jim should know: He travels up to 50,000 miles each year in all types of weather for his job. Follow Jim’s tried-and-true winter driving tips. Click here to read the 10 tips.

Real Life Lessons From Truck Drivers Injured at Work: Blown Away on an Interstate

Those who pull van trailers immediately understand the significance of this topic. Vans have a very large surface area and when the wind blows the driver knows – most of the time. However, that was not the case last February in western Kentucky because the wind came from out of no where and Phil had no idea what was getting ready to happen. If he had, then he would have taken some precautionary action.

Weather patterns vary based upon the location and the season. In some places the weather can be very unpredictable during transitional seasons like late winter and early spring. Such was the case in western Kentucky. Warm air was being blown up from the south in front of an approaching cold front. When the cold front is strong the southern winds will also be strong, and sometimes contain gusts. It was one of these gusts that lifted Phil’s left rear trailer tandems off the road and eventually caused Phil to lose steering control. His reaction resulted in an overturned tractor and trailer, some minor injuries to himself and a blocked Interstate. Click here to continue reading Phil’s story.

January Newsletter

Fleet Dash Cameras: A Potential Solution to Distracted Driving

The attached article is courtesy of EMC Insurance Companies

In today’s connected world, the number of ways a driver can get distracted is nearly endless. Besides the obvious use of a cell phone to text or talk, other distractions could include changing a radio station or selecting a playlist, chatting with a passenger, picking up a dropped object, eating, adjusting a GPS unit and attempting to take off a jacket.

“While it’s impossible to list every imaginable distraction, drivers should be aware that anything that diverts their attention from driving is dangerous,” says Jim Stotser, EMC Senior Engineer. “Humans tend to think we can multitask, but we just can’t while driving. This fact is well documented in studies accident reviews.”

While it’s not popular with drivers, there is really only one way to be sure employees are avoiding distractions. And that’s to use dashboard cameras that film both forward and back. It’s important to explain to drivers that even though the cameras constantly record, footage isn’t saved unless there is an incident. If there is a crash or near collision, the recording is saved as evidence. Click here for more on how to use dash cams and implement a policy.

IT WAS ONE OF THOSE DAYS…

This article is courtesy of Acuity Insurance

A 41-year-old truck driver thought his work boots were enough preparation to work in icy conditions. The ice proved more challenging than he expected.

Because of the ice, he got out of the cab again and again to scrape the windshield and the lights. First, he fell from the icy truck steps, twisting his ankle. Later, as he exited the cab to unhook the trailer, he slipped on the ground and fell flat on his back. He fell a third time about three feet off the truck steps onto his left shoulder, twisting his left knee and low back.

Despite the pain, the truck driver continued working. As he disconnected the trailer, it all caught up with him. He felt a sharp pain traveling to his spine, and his arm went numb. The following day, he couldn’t move.

This gritty driver who had toughed it out despite the aches and pains had injured his back, left shoulder, and elbows. It was two weeks before he was able to return to work on light duty. Click here for tips to help drivers avoid this scenario.

November Newsletter

Are You Ready for Winter?

This article is courtesy of Acuity Insurance

Winter is right around the corner! The attached list from Acuity Insurance offers ways to make sure you and your drivers are prepared for the cold weather. Click here to read.

Ergonomic Risk Factors

The attached article is courtesy of EMC Insurance CompaniesErgonomic risk factors are conditions of a job, process or operation that contribute to the risk of developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This includes damaged muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joins, cartilage or spinal disks. The main ergonomic risk factors that can cause MSDs are awkward postures, forceful exertions and repetitive motions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, MSDs account for 30% of lost workdays and one out of every three dollars spent on workers’ compensation in the United States annually. To reduce the frequency and severity of MSDs in the workplace, it is important to eliminate ergonomic risk factors that are known to contribute to their development. Click here to continue reading.

September Newsletter

5 Key Habits of a Safety Conscious Company

The attached article is courtesy of EMC Insurance Companies

Safety in the workplace isn’t just a matter telling employees to behave safely. It’s much more complex. It involves changing old habits, developing a safety program, identifying responsibilities, and creating checklists for equipment, facility and fleet tasks. Other key components of safety include ongoing training and testing efforts, reviewing accident data (including near misses), keeping up on housekeeping and ensuring sufficient safety budgets.

So how do you determine which tasks—or habits—are most critical to safety in your workplace? Andy Benson, EMC Senior Risk Improvement Representative, suggests five key habits that are common among companies with impressive safety records. If your organization practices each of these, you’ll be primed for safety success. Click here to continue reading.

Real Life Lessons From Truck Drivers Injured at Work: Get Out, Get Under, or Get In?

This article is courtesy of Midwestern Insurance Alliance

Tornadoes are unpredictable, inevitable, damaging and sometimes deadly. Experiencing one is a very humbling event. You get to see just how powerful nature can be and just how helpless we can be. In addition, the outcome of a tornado is virtually unexplainable. One structure may remain undamaged while all others surrounding it are totally demolished.

With rapidly improving technology, the National Weather Service has radically improved their ability to predict the possibility of tornadic activity; even so, they still can’t definitely state when or where a tornado will occur. Most often, it literally comes down to a matter of seconds of notification and subsequent reaction.

This presents a very dangerous situation for long haul truck drivers. One item to consider is the fact that the driver may not be listening to a local/regional radio broadcast, consequently missing out on the local weather situation. In addition, if the driver is aware of an impending tornado he most likely is not familiar with the immediate area and may not know where the best place of refuge may be. Most often the choices are stay in your truck, get out and lie in a ditch, or seek shelter under an overpass.

This was the very situation that Linnie faced early last summer. He was driving east through Kansas (tornado alley) one afternoon when a tornado suddenly developed. Click here to read Linnie’s story.

August Newsletter

Employee (Mis)Classification: What’s Old is Still New

The attached article is courtesy of: Setliff Law, P.C. 4940 Dominion Boulevard Glen Allen, VA 23060; Phone: (804)377-1276; Email: pschurig@setlifflaw.com 

Every time we give a presentation on Workers Compensation, or contracting, or employer liability, or a similar subject, someone comes up to one of us and asks some question about how they have no employees, only independent contractors, and their contract includes terms X and Y, or some contractor got injured while working, etc. Each time these people seem to believe they have come up with an iron-clad way to reduce expenses, avoid the need for insurance (or even foist responsibility for that insurance onto someone else), and avoid liability. They invariably have not. Click here to continue reading.

Tips to Have Successful Roadside Inspections

This article is courtesy of Acuity InsuranceIn my role helping motor carriers with their needs, I often find myself in conversations about struggles with roadside inspections. When I ask how these inspections affect their business operations, things like insurance, customers, brokers, and driver recruitment/retention don’t always make their lists, but they are all impacted. Over my 30-plus years in the industry, I learned roadside inspections and CSA scores are tied together and can affect both drivers and motor carriers in many ways. Although many people think of them negatively, they can be managed in a positive light. Click here for 7 ways to turn roadside inspections into a positive experience.

July Newsletter

Are You Ready for the Next Storm?

An alert pops up on your computer or phone: “Area Flood Warning.” The National Weather Service has predicted heavy, sustained rainfall for your area. Are you ready?

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and peaks between August and October, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30. The U.S. East Coast also faces the threat of powerful winter Nor’easters from September to April.

Do you have emergency action and evacuation plans? Do you have procedures for recovering from storm damage? Click here for more information on creating a plan to prepare for the potential hazards a storm can bring.

10 Tips for Driving Safely in the Rain

The attached article is courtesy of EMC Insurance Companies

Rain, rain, go away …If only it were that easy. Driving in wet conditions is a common occurrence, and contrary to popular belief, it is much deadlier than driving on snowy streets and roads, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Records show that 73% of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavements and 46% occur during rainfall. Snow, sleet and slush are involved in about 44% of crashes. Click here for 10 tips to tackle rainy roads like an expert.

June Newsletter

Safely Reopen Your Business After COVID-19: Fleet Operations

This article is courtesy of Harford Mutual. Contact Nansemond Insurance Agency to learn what Harford Mutual can do for you.

Businesses are starting to reopen, and they’re doing so with the safety of their employees and customers in mind. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is expected to remain a public health threat. Community containment has helped to slow the spread of this disease throughout the country, and we will need to continue to focus on these efforts. As our country slowly reinstates parts of the workforce, critical strategies need to be considered in anticipation of returning to business operations. Click here to learn more about potential exposures and what you can do to stop the spread.

“Give ’em a BRAKE” — Road Construction Safety and Defensive Driving Tips

This article is courtesy of Accident Fund Insurance Company of America.

When drivers get behind the wheel, they take responsibility for maintaining control of 2-ton machines that can easily cover a distance of more than 80 feet in one second. Operation of a vehicle must be taken seriously. Unsafe traveling speeds, distracted driving and driver fatigue and are three of the biggest culprits of unnecessary vehicle-related accidents and fatalities. Click here to continue reading.

May Newsletter

Entering and Exiting the Cab

This article is courtesy of Acuity Insurance

FMCSA Regulation §399.207: Any person entering or exiting the cab or accessing the rear portion of a high-profile COE truck or truck-tractor shall be afforded sufficient steps and handhold and/or deck plates to allow the user to have at least three limbs in contact with the truck or truck-tractor at any time. Click here for helpful steps to maintain three-point contact.

Real Life Lessons From Truck Drivers Injured at Work: An Excedrin Headache

This article is courtesy of Midwestern Insurance Alliance

Plop – Plop – Fizz – Fizz – Oh what a relief it is!! Those of us old enough to remember back before shoelaces were replaced by Velcro and one of the requirements for promotion to the 2nd grade was to be able to tie our shoes will recall this advertisement jingle. It had to do with the funny looking cartoon character whose head was an Alka-Seltzer tablet (similar to the Green Bay Packer cheese heads). He was encouraging everyone to take an Alka-Seltzer tablet for their headaches. Likewise, the competing Excedrin product was advertised for headache relief and their marketing became so successful that most of us now refer to headaches as an Excedrin headache. Goes to show just how effective, or mentally controlling, an advertisement can be. The funny thing about these commercials was not funny to Zack a few months ago when he got injured. In fact, the accident was far from funny and could have been life threatening. Click here to read Zack’s story.

April Newsletter

Thank a Trucker

Americans appreciate the job truckers are doing for us! Great West Casualty Company has insured trucks for many year and produced the below video tribute. We are proud to represent Great West Casualty Company and are proud of the job you do each day!

#ThankATrucker | Great West Casualty Company

Watch the Video
188 views

No Workers’ Compensation Awarded to Truck Driver Injured in Motor Vehicle Accident After Failing to Wear Seat Belt

The attached article is courtesy of: Setliff Law, P.C. 4940 Dominion Boulevard Glen Allen, VA 23060; Phone: (804)377-1276; Email: pschurig@setlifflaw.com 

Everyone knows to wear a seat belt. Some cars even have sticker warnings, while other car systems flash warning signals when the car starts, but how many drivers adhere to these warnings? Who is at fault if someone doesn’t wear a seat belt and gets hurt? Is it the employer? Is it the employee? Click here to read more.

Risk Management Round Table: COVID-19 and the Transportation Industry

This podcast is courtesy of: East Coast Risk Management 7562 State Route 30 North Huntingdon, PA 15642; Phone: (724)864-8745
 
Click here to listen to a podcast where East Coast Risk Management’s Manager of DOT Services, Mike Kuiros explains how the transportation industry has changed due to COVID-19.

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