Rounds of safety discussions provide practical advice
Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM
An Aging driver workforce, avoiding work-related injuries, family relations, and cargo tank service life were the kaleidoscope of discussions held in a round of sessions at the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) Safety Council Seminar April 2-3 in San Antonio, Texas.
Divided into groups, the attendees made the rounds of the sessions, listening to colleagues' comments and sharing information on the topics. Conclusions and suggestions later were presented in a synopsis by Fritz Mead, NTTC; Darrell Bowman, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute; Tom Schelonka, LifeGuard Technologies; Lori Pavlish, Dow Chemical Co; and John Conley, NTTC.
One session discussed the obstacles drivers often have to face at loading facilities where they may have to climb over totes, wade through flooded areas, slide over iced racks in winter, and sweat under personal protective equipment in summer.
The group agreed that giving a driver the authority to refuse loading or unloading if the situation is precarious is essential. Following up with the shipper or the consignee about unsafe conditions also is essential.
Keeping drivers healthy and happy applies as much at home as at work, they agreed. Companies should keep spouses apprised of company policies and be sure that they understand what the job requires. Some companies have family meetings, such as a summer cookout, where they provide safety information. Discussions may include fire safety and sleep apnea, as well as teen safe driving courses. Company information can be provided in newsletters included in pay envelopes or mailed to the home.
Factors that affect the service life of cargo tanks also sparked rounds of conversation as a representative from Virginia Tech recited research the college is conducting. Bowman said the research team will need eight hazmat motor carriers to participate in its study. The team also will use 10 cargo tank repair, inspection, and test facilities in the study.
During the session, it was pointed out that service life can be affected by road conditions, weight of hoses, external valves not supported properly, biofuel eroding seals, and tank cleaning. Increasingly, product is being loaded at a faster rate so that problems may arise from the pressure on the bulkheads.
Problems also arise from the variety of chemical products that are hauled in the tanks and interaction that can occur if tanks are not properly cleaned after unloading.
Pavlish of Dow Chemical advised carriers to have a work process in order to understand chemicals and ensure that the product gets the appropriate review before it is hauled. She suggested they have a haul/no haul list of products readily available.
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