Back To School Safety Tips for Drivers

The laid-back days of summer are almost over. Over the next few weeks, most schools in the U.S. will be resuming classes for the fall. It’s a time of exciting new beginnings for teachers and students, but it also is a time of greater headaches for drivers of all types. Carpools and buses will soon be flooding the streets again, adding new times of high traffic. Seasoned drivers are likely fully aware of the dangers of changing weather such as earlier darkness, slippery leaves, ice, and snow. However, unless you currently have children attending school, a few school year changes to road safety may not be as front-of-mind. Here are a few safety challenges to watch out for as students head back to classrooms.

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Tips for Staying Cool & Safe During Extreme Heat

Even as the effects of the pandemic begin to wane across the U.S. a new crisis is emerging—that of brutal heatwaves across the country. According to The National Weather Service, the already blistering temperatures experienced by as much as 70% of the U.S. population in June of 2022 are likely to continue, with a hotter-than-average July, August, and September on the horizon.

For those who make a living driving trucks, heatwaves can be problematic. According to a 2018 study published in Temperature, cars parked in the sun on a hot day can go from 85 degrees to 116 degrees in just an hour due to the way heat and humidity can become trapped inside an enclosed space. This means that just being inside of a vehicle without the air conditioning on can be a dangerous prospect, even with the windows open.

Of course, most truck drivers do much more in the course of their busy days that can cause harm to their bodies in extreme heat such as securing a load, inspecting the truck, or parking in a no-idle space without shade, not to mention manual labor tasks such as loading and unloading freight with a pallet jack, hand cart, etc. Due to the nature of the occupation, drivers may find themselves at a higher risk of heat-related health complications such as heat exhaustion or its more serious cousin, heatstroke.

How to recognize heatstroke

In the summer months, drivers should remain aware of symptoms of heatstroke so they can recognize the signs and seek immediate the medical attention required by this condition. Without treatment, heatstroke can lead to serious health complications and cause damage to your heart, brain, muscles, and kidneys, and can even lead to death. The damage increases over time without proper medical treatment, so do not delay seeking treatment if heatstroke is suspected.

The most common heatstroke symptoms include the following and can happen suddenly—within 10-15 minutes if body temperatures rise above 106 degrees.

  • Throbbing headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Racing heart rate
  • High body temp (over 104 degrees F)
  • Strange behavior such as disorientation or confusion
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Rapid breathing

Preventing heatstroke

The best treatment for heatstroke is obviously to avoid it altogether. Here are a few ways to keep cool during high temps.

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing with a wide-brimmed hat if possible.
  • Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
  • Drink extra fluids. It is recommended to drink 6-8 glasses of water, fruit, or vegetable juice a day to stay hydrated. However, in extreme heat you should aim to drink 8oz of water every 20 minutes
  • Avoid high-caffeine beverages such as coffee, soda, or energy drinks as these can worsen dehydration
  • Choose a beverage with extra electrolytes such as Liquid IV or coconut water. These beverages not only keep you hydrated, but they also prevent a dangerous drop in electrolytes that contributes to health problems
  • Take frequent breaks in a shaded or air-conditioned space

Extreme heat is the deadliest weather condition and should be taken seriously. Be aware that health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, as well as certain medications can increase your risk of an extreme reaction to heat. Make sure to take proper precautions when working in high temps to keep yourself safe and healthy. If heatstroke is suspected, seek professional medical attention immediately so you can continue to enjoy all the other perks of summertime for many years to come.

How Trillium Maintains Safety Standards in a Difficult Driver Recruitment Climate

The American Trucking Associations estimates the driver shortage in 2021 topped 80,000 drivers, and experts are worried that number could skyrocket to over 160,000 by 2030. While this shortage can be attributed to several causes, there is one thing that we can state definitively—no matter how challenging driver recruitment and retention become, Trillium Driver Solutions (TDS) will never cut corners on safety.

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How You Can Prevent Workplace Violence: 5 Warning Signs of Escalating Behavior & How to Respond

Everyone has been talking about that Oscars slap. Less is being said about the reaction and de-escalation efforts of presenter Chris Rock, but Rock’s response is one of the main takeaways from the situation. It’s essential to keep a cool head when violence in the workplace starts to emerge, and all organizations should provide best practices to deescalate and even prevent workplace violence, especially in these troubling times.

A Violence Epidemic

According to the National Safety Council, a leading non-profit safety advocate for the workplace and roadways, over 20,000 assault-related injuries and 392 deaths resulted from workplace violence in 2020. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported in 2021 that violence is the second leading cause of death in the workplace, closely behind vehicle accidents, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), homicide is the number one cause of death for women in the workplace.

These sobering statistics raise the question of what can organizations and employees do to stop workplace violence in its tracks before it becomes another troubling headline?

According to Eric Waidelich, Manager of Operations and Business Development at Rizikon, a risk management consulting firm, the number one step anyone can take to reduce workplace violence is to recognize the warning signs of escalating behavior and respond promptly with the appropriate de-escalation tactic.

What is Behavior Escalation?

Behavior escalation means that a person is showing a certain pattern of behavior that can get worse over time and follows a specific pattern. By responding with a de-escalation tactic, that pattern may be interrupted and hopefully, a resolution can be reached. Keep in mind that not every person will go through these stages in this exact order, and your response also should adjust accordingly. When confronted with a person showing these warning signs, be sure to assess your own physical safety before proceeding.

The 5 Signs of Behavior Escalation and How to Respond Source: Eric Waidelich and OSHA Academy

Stage One: Confusion

Warning signs:

● Bewildered or distracted appearance

● The subject seems unsure or uncertain of what to do next

● The subject may seem overwhelmed

Helpful Responses:

● Listen attentively. Don’t directly challenge.

● Ask clarifying questions to seek understanding (example, “What I’m hearing you say is ______”

● Give factual information

Stage Two: Frustration

Warning signs:

● Impatient and reactive behavior

● Resistant to information you are giving

● Appears defeated

● May try to bait you into an argument

Helpful Responses:

● Continue to listen and offer factual information

● If possible, relocate to a quiet location (try to have another person with you whenever possible and always an escape route in mind)

● Provide reassurance

● Make a sincere attempt to clarify concerns

Stage Three: Blame

Warning signs

● Subject places blame for problems on everyone else

● Critical of the actions of others

● Subject may accuse you or hold you responsible

*Here the subject may cross over into potentially hazardous behavior

Helpful Responses

● Disengage with the person and bring a second party into the discussion

● Use a teamwork approach

● Draw the person back to the facts

● Show respect and concern

● Focus on areas of agreement to help resolve the situation

Stage Four: Anger

Warning Signs

● The subject will show a significant change in body posture

● The subject may engage in aggressive behaviors like shouting, screaming, cursing, pointing fingers, pounding with fists, placing hands on head & closing eyes

*Anger behaviors are red flags that your safety may be at risk. Assess your physical safety before continuing to engage.

Helpful Responses

● Don’t argue with the person

● Maintain a safe physical distance and know your escape route

● Don’t offer solutions – rational discussion is over

● Ask the person to leave – be firm, but calm

Stage Five: Hostility

Warning Signs

● Physical action or threats seem about to happen

● There is immediate danger of physical harm or property damage

● Out-of-control behavior shows the subject has crossed the line

Helpful Responses

● Disengage and evacuate the area entirely or to a secure location

● Attempt to isolate the person if it can be done safely (put a barrier between them and you)

● Alert proper authorities and contact your supervisor

The statistics above paint a grim picture of the reality of workplace violence all around us, but awareness of the warning signs is a major step in the right direction. As you approach a person displaying the above warning signs, it is essential to project calm confidence rather than confrontation. Avoid criticizing or lecturing; rather, focus on the feelings, themes, and motivation revealed by the speaker. Fortunately, in the recent Oscars scandal, Chris Rock was able to quickly assess the problem and respond in a de-escalating manner. Sometimes being a hero requires only some empathy and a listening ear.

Drive With Pride; Set Your Cell Phone Aside: How to Avoid Distracted Driving with Mobile Settings

A Preventable Danger

As a driver, you have been given a huge responsibility. Everyone is counting on you to get the goods to the proper destination quickly and safely. You take safety seriously, but even the most experienced drivers can sometimes get distracted. The number one distraction for drivers today? Our cell phones. Even in hand-free mode, multiple studies have shown that drivers could be missing up to half of the visual stimuli around them.

Here’s a disturbing statistic for you. According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), taking your eyes off the road for a single text while traveling 55 MPH is equal to driving with your eyes closed for the length of an entire football field. Imagine your family members and loved ones surrounded by people driving with their eyes closed at high speeds, perhaps even in a large commercial vehicle. Talk about a sobering reminder of the importance of staying focused while driving!

The NHTSA reported that 3,142 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2019, accounting for 8.7% of all crash fatalities that year. Because of the high risk involved, handheld devices have been banned for drivers of commercial vehicles since 2011.

To put it simply, multitasking, especially while driving, is a myth. The human mind simply cannot devote equal attention to multiple tasks at the same time. Any task that takes your mind off the road should be avoided if possible. Not only is distracted driving a major safety concern, it also carries hefty penalties, which include the following:

· Up to $2,750 in fines per offense for drivers

· Up to $11,000 in fines for employers who allow or require drivers to use handheld devices

· Possible driver disqualification for repeat offenders

· Negative impact on Safety Measurement System (SMS) results

What actions count as using devices illegally?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), you may be fined for the following actions:

· Using at least one hand to hold a mobile phone to make a call

· Dialing a mobile phone by pressing more than a single button

· Reaching for a mobile phone in a manner that requires a driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt

Staying in touch while avoiding distracted driving

Now you understand why distracted driving is a problem. But how can you stay in touch for important messages or calls while still maintaining a safe focus on the road? Luckily, your mobile phone can actually help with some special setting features.

For Apple Users:

Set up the Driving Focus to silence or limit messages and other notifications. Just go to Settings, then Focus. Tap the + sign in the upper right-hand corner and select “Driving.” You can customize the Driving Focus feature to allow specific contacts or allow emergency notifications. Through Driving Focus, you can also automatically share with others that your notifications are silenced so your contacts know you are waiting to respond until you safely reach your destination, or choose an auto-reply to let contacts know you are unavailable. Driving Focus can be set up to turn on automatically for a “set it and forget it” option that always keeps your driving free of mobile phone distractions.

For Android Users:

For every phone with Android 9 or newer, users can set up Focus Mode. Go to Settings, then Digital Wellbeing. You can also search “Focus Mode” under Settings. From there, you are presented with a list of distracting apps. You can choose which ones to silence in Focus Mode and which ones to leave active. Focus Mode can also be added to the Quick Settings menu to more easily turn it on and off.

With just a few taps, you can do your part to keep the roads a safer place for all drivers. You can also spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving to other drivers, your friends, and family. As awareness increases, it is our hope at Trillium Driver Solutions that safety increases as well.

More Than 40% of U.S. Workers Suffer From This. Are You One of Them?

As if the holidays weren’t a whirlwind enough on their own, the new year always brings with it a renewed list of projects, tasks and responsibilities no matter what your line of business is. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more than 40% of U.S. workers are sleep deprived. What’s worse? Nearly 13% of all workplace injuries in the U.S. may be attributed to fatigue. With stats like that, here’s what you need to know to stay safe in the workplace and help your colleagues do the same.

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15% of All Accidental Deaths Start With This

While it’s no shocker that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of accidental deaths, did you know that something as simple and often times preventable as slips, trips and falls are the second leading cause of accidental death? Unless you work in a Safety or Risk Management role, you probably don’t give a lot of thought to this topic. Here’s why you should.

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The Most Expensive Workplace Injuries

While workplace injuries and illnesses cost employers an estimated $170 billion every year, the costs among them vary greatly. We often hear of companies complaining about the costs of PPE and safety equipment in roles where they don’t suspect the injuries to occur or not understanding the costs of them when they do. Regardless of cost, the important factor is the wellness and safety of the employees.

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The Trillium Driver Office in Indianapolis Awarded the 2017 Safety Branch of the Year!

In celebration of the Indianapolis Trillium Drivers branch office receiving the 2017 Safety Branch of the Year award, the team put together a safety meeting for all Trillium Drivers out of the Indianapolis location to not only thank them but to instill the importance of safety.

Indy Drivers Safety 2

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Flu Outbreak Could Cost Employers Up To $9 Billion

Does it seem like your workplace is running a little shorter staffed these days? It likely is. The influenza outbreak that has left millions of people across the nation ill, is the most widespread outbreak since public health authorities started tracking this information more than a decade ago.

The Center for Disease Control is reporting infections caused by H1N1 strain with a larger number of infections of the H3N2 strain being predominate this time around. The H3N2 strain is best known for it’s resistance to vaccinations that are typically most effective against other flu strains. The H3N2 strain is also known to cause more severe symptoms than more common flu strains.

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