Road Check is June 3-5 2014 - Are You and Your Truck Ready?

Posted by Matt Manoli on May 28, 2014 10:41:59 AM

Refueling truck parked

Road Check is upon us again! The dates for the 72 hour inspection period for 2014 will be June 3rd through 5th. According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CSVA), one of the programs sponsors:

" Since its inception in 1988, roadside inspections conducted during Roadcheck have numbered over 1 million, resulting in more than 220 lives saved and 4,045 injuries avoided. It also provides an opportunity to educate the industry and general public about the importance of safe commercial vehicle operations and the roadside inspection program" (excerpt from CSVA's website, which is an excellent source for commercial vehicle operators:  http://www.cvsa.org/programs/int_roadcheck.php )

So what are they looking for and how can you make sure your truck is ready? Last year saw over 73 thousand inspections of trucks and buses (thats 17 PER MINUTE on average!) with 22% of trucks, and less than 4% of drivers placed out of service. 

The inspections all come down to ensuring that drivers are operating safely and doing so in a safe, properly maintained vehicle. Most of the prep is just a matter of paying extra attention to the simple every day safety measures we all take - making sure you have your license, medical card, hours of service paperwork/elog, and any cargo documentation you need in your truck - and it sounds silly but make sure you fasten your seatbelt! The craziest part of last years inspection numbers was that almost 900 drivers were cited for seatbelt violations!

Last year the inspections primarily focused on load securement, and this is always a critical part of the test since its a huge safety concern, so make sure your straps, chains, tailgates are in good shape and proper working order. In terms of the overall vehicle inspection, what you have the most control over as a driver is making sure you have proper documentation for what you're carrying, especially hazmat drivers. Making sure your vehicle is properly placarded, you have the right paperwork, and if youre in a city like Boston, you know what routes you can and cannot travel with hazardous cargo. This years focus is HazMat compliance, so all of us fuel folks have to keep that in mind and be extra vigilant. 

We all work hard to do our jobs as safely as possible every day, so just make sure you're a little extra vigilant next week, and it'll all be over soon!

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Topics: Safety, Tank Truck Safety Training, Roadcheck, Hazmat

Safety Meetings - Keeping Things Current

Posted by Matt Manoli on Jan 13, 2014 1:25:00 PM

Hello there. One way to keep your safety program interesting and engaging for your employees is to keep it current. There is nothing worse than asking an employee to sit for 45 minutes watching a video that was produced in 1985. It makes me think of the very first safety meeting I conducted. I showed a video on winter driving that was so old there was St. Johnsbury trucks involved in the production. It was awful. On the other hand it shows how far we have come. Our last round of safety meetings I tried a different program called Prezi. While it was a little tricky and time consuming to prepare, it was different from the usual PowerPoint slideshow I have been using. Prezi is a web based program that involves zooming in and out across the screen. It is like a journey - as we called it, our journey to safety excellence. Using a device called Apple TV I was able to conduct the entire meeting wirelessly through my iphone. It was pretty neat and all our employees were very engaged. Check it out at www.prezi.com.

Good drivers take ownership of their responsibilities and the equipment they’re operating. It is imperative this desire is fed on a regular basis, and fed with the most accurate and up to date information possible. I rely on a variety of sources to keep me current so I in turn can keep our people current. Your state trucking associations can be a very good resource. The MMTA’s are particularly good (Massachusetts Motor Transportation Association and Maine Motor Transportation Association). They both send out email notifications of changing rules regulations. Things can change very rapidly in the transportation industry. Both associations will answer the phone and answer questions when needed. JJ Keller publishes a number of monthly newsletters that can be helpful as well. I particularly like their Hazmat Transportation Report. This publication keeps me informed of proposed rule makings in time to comment directly to the DOT before any proposed rulemaking are put into law.    

Any way you stay current works, but remember nobody will buy into an old, stale, outdated safety program, so to get your program working you've got to stay updated.  

Good Luck!

Matt

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Topics: Safety, Tank Truck Safety Training, MMTA

Making Safety Work - Some Things We've Learned

Posted by Matt Manoli on Sep 27, 2013 11:01:00 AM

This past week was National Truck Driver Appreciation week and boy do we appreciate our drivers! These guys are the best in the industry, they take pride in their work and we are extremely proud of them. 

Our drivers, Dispatch, Operations and Safety Departments have all worked really hard to create a culture of Safety and collaboration and have been pretty successful in doing so. I thought I'd run through some things we've learned over the years that have really helped establish that.

Hiring the Right Drivers: Beyond the obvious screening and drug testing requirements and road tests, another angle to make sure you are hiring the most qualified, safest drivers possible is to set up an employee referral bonus program. This is great for your existing drivers, because it shows that you appreciate their skill and professionalism, along with trusting and valuing their opinion and input... not to mention they enjoy the bonus! 

It's also good for your operations in terms of time - your existing drivers understand what the job takes, the culture of the company, and the skill level you are looking for - they know who is a good fit and more importantly, who is NOT. They can use this information to provide referrals that are of a high quality. 

Dont forget that RETAINING quality employees is the most important investment you can make. A clearly defined Safety Program with clearly set boundaries and requirements helps keep everyone on the same page on expectations and consequences. We spend a lot of time clearly defining driver benchmarks and goals - and we recognize and reward drivers who consistently meet or surpass them with a cash Safety Bonus program. Whether your company prefers to do cash, a gift card, movie tickets, whatever - acknowledging the above-and-beyond effort put in by individuals is really important to keeping a positive culture and letting people know you appreciate the professionalism and dedication they put into their work.

One of the ways we've tried to go beyond having a Safety Program and into having a Safety Culture, is through Safety Meetings. Drivers attend these meetings, where new regulations are reviewed or certain topics discussed - they also have time to ask questions, or get feedback from other drivers on situations they've encountered in the field, etc. Beyond keeping everyone on the same page, the meetings have really seemed to help make us a team.

Happy, engaged employees are your best employees, and we've found that the best way to make people happy is to keep things clear and transparent, recognize that they are a skilled professional with valuable input, reward them for going above and beyond, and let them know that we appreciate their hard work and loyalty.  

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Topics: Safety

Safety as a Culture at Dennis K Burke

Posted by Matt Manoli on Jul 11, 2012 4:09:00 PM

Hi guys - in case you missed it, dont forget to check out Ed's article in the May edition of Oil & Energy Magazine on Safety as a Culture in your organization. We have a strong belief in safety being the number one priority at all times and have worked really hard to create a Safety Culture and Program that not only benefits our company and keeps insurances costs lower but allows Safe Drivers to personally benefit from a focus on safety through compensation and bonuses tied to safer performance. Its worth thinking about for your organization as well.

you can read the article in PDF Here or read the Oil & Energy online magazine here

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Topics: Safety, Safe Driving Policy, Oil & Energy Magazine

DKB Tank Truck Safety Training with West Springfield FD

Posted by Matt Manoli on Apr 30, 2012 9:11:00 AM

This month Matt spent some time with the guys at the West Springfield Fire Department conducting tanker safety training. The focus of training is getting firefighters familiar with all the wiring and emergency shutoff setups in new tank trucks so that in the event of a rollover or emergency, they can respond more easily. Obviously we have seen incidents in the past where hazmat loads have caused a lot of damage - Matt's goal is to make it a lot easier for Firefighters to respond, because they are familiar with the workings of the truck, so we can avoid catastrophes.

We loved spending time with the West Springfield Fire Department, a group of well trained professionals, they were an absolute pleasure to spend time with.

You can check out a write up by the Springfield Republican on the training at masslive.com - click here to go directly to the article 

 

Fire fighter observing a lecture from a Dennis K. Burke driver

(Photo by John Suchocki: The Republican)

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Topics: Safety, Firefighter Safety Training

CDL questions in Massachusetts & Social Medias role in hiring drivers

Posted by Matt Manoli on Mar 1, 2012 9:54:00 AM

The crash on route 79 in Fall River last Sunday has raised a lot of questions about how CDL licenses are obtained in Massachusetts, and how companies can go about hiring safe, qualified CDL drivers to avoid catastrophes like we saw in Fall River. The driver of the truck involved had several violations on his driving record, as well as a drug distribution charge that temporarily suspended his license in the past. Obviously, certain types of violations ought to carry more weight than others, but incidents like this crash serve to highlight issues surrounding safety policy, and the importance of taking an overall assessment of a candidate for a drivers position. 

As I discuss in the article in the Taunton Gazette last week, most companies now do background checks on potential drivers, beyond the anticipated driving record check. At Dennis K Burke, we look at a candidates 10 year driving history for any infractions that would indicate habitual unsafe driving. Its also important to check references listed on applications, for any position, but especially a CDL driver. Any gaps in employment should be evaluated as well, to ensure a gap in work history was not due to a suspension or infraction as was the case with the driver involved in the Fall River accident.

(You can Read the Story in the Taunton Gazette here - it does a really great job explaining a lot of the rules and regulations related to CDLs in Massachusetts)

A new approach we also use, in keeping up with the changing ways people share and interact now is checking social media. Generally, social media accounts are harmless, fun ways for people to stay in touch but on occassion they can raise a red flag, much the way they would for a prospective university, job, etc. Its easy to overlook social media as a valuable tool to learn more about an applicant, but I think doing so is a mistake. People live their lives online now, for better or for worse, and by skipping out on social media, you skip out on an easy avenue to get a general feel for who someone is and how they will fit with your organization. Its free, it takes 5 minutes - why not give it a shot?

Speaking of Social Media - you can follow us at @DennisKBurkeInc on Twitter, or http://www.facebook.com/DennisKBurkeInc  - We'd love to hear your feedback, comments and insights!



 

 

 

 

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Topics: Safety, CDL Regulations Massachusetts, Taunton Gazette, Social Media and Job Applicants

Dennis K Burke's Safety Policy - No Brown M&Ms!

Posted by Matt Manoli on Apr 25, 2011 2:30:00 PM

 

Dennis K Burke, Burke Oil logo

This article is really relevant to our safety policy and does a good job highlighting our safety philosophy that "details matter, small things can cause big problems"

No Brown M&Ms - Van Halen's Business Advice

 

 

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Topics: Safety, Brown M&Ms

Melrose Firefighters Learn about Fuel Truck Safety Features

Posted by Matt Manoli on Apr 18, 2011 1:57:00 PM

MELROSE FREE PRESS

Melrose Firefighters Learn About Fuel Truck Safety Features

by Andy Frongillo

 

MELROSE – Earlier this month, Melrose firefighters were brought up-to-date with the latest fuel tank and trailer safety technology.

At the request of Melrose Fire Department, Dennis K. Burke, Inc. brought their company’s safety team to the Main Street firehouse to help firemen learn more about fuel truck safety. The Chelsea-based fuel distributor offered presentation on three days to accommodate the shifts and schedules of the firemen. Burke recently offered similar programs to the Revere, Cambridge and Norwood Fire Departments.

When the Burke Safety Team visits with one of the local Fire Departments, they take along a fuel trailer for firefighters to get a hands-on tour of current trailer technology.

“For many of these guys, it’s the first opportunity to check out these vehicles in a non-emergency situation,” notes Burke Safety Director Matt Manoli. “We try to share our drivers’ experiences. We address some of the hazards that drivers might encounter while making deliveries or just traveling through the city.”

There were great discussions regarding placarding, responding to hazards, and learning about a trailer’s emergency shut-off mechanisms. Emphasizing that it was a hands-on demonstration, Manoli then pointed to the top of the trailer and urged the firemen to climb up and look inside the tank compartments, ask questions and try to get familiar with the vehicle’s emergency safety features.

 “For 50 years, our focus has been on delivering fuel safely,” adds Manoli, “we’re really proud of the reputation we’ve earned over the years, and this additional role that we can play in our community.”

  

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Topics: Safety, Firefighter Safety Training, Melrose

Safe Driving - Dennis K Burke's Distracted Driving Policy

Posted by Matt Manoli on May 15, 2010 1:42:00 PM

dennis k burke, burke oil logo

On May 24, 2010, Dennis K. Burke, Inc. will adopt a policy that will allow our drivers to be safer at work and further set us apart from many in our industry.

 Distracted driving is quickly becoming an epidemic in our society and the statistics showing the results should make all of us pause and realize the importance of this topic in both our work and personal lives.  

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, in 2008 nearly 6,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver and more than half a million were injured.  
  • While we would never consider driving a commercial motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, talking on a cell phone while driving extends a driver’s reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.

Stop and re-read those two bullets… those are staggering statistics. Sadly our brains are often too stubborn to allow us to learn from statistics until we are affected by them personally.

Dennis K. Burke, Inc. is committed to providing the safest possible environment for its employees and the public. As such, it is the policy of Dennis K. Burke, Inc. that no employee will use any type of handheld electronic device while operating a company vehicle or while driving their personal vehicle on company business. This includes, but is not limited to: cell phones, CB radios, laptop computers, and GPS systems. While we realize the large role that these devices play in our lives on a daily basis and the inconveniences and inefficiencies eliminating their use while driving may cause, we are not willing to sacrifice safety.  While we are confident that legislation to this end will follow soon, until such time Dennis K. Burke will be on the forefront leading the way.

Attached is the formal policy as well as a few bullets on how we intend on modifying our business practices to accomplish this change in policy. Please read and be prepared to put in place on May 24, 2010. We also urge you to talk your families and to those who are important in your lives about this serious issue. Thanks in advance for your cooperation and your daily efforts towards keeping our roads safe!


Changes to procedure once policy is in place

  1. You are still required to call in after completion of each load. You are to call base prior to leaving the site after each load if single stop or at the conclusion of a multi-stop run.
  2.  If you are unable to get thru on either of the 2 base phones and nobody has returned your call within  10 minutes from the time of your first call, you are to then contact the Dispatch Hotline at 617.304.1906 or 181*25103*70. This phone is not to call dispatch unless you have been sitting for 10 minutes or longer
  3. If dispatch needs to contact you and you are driving, they will call from the Dispatch Hotline phone. This phone will be set-up on your phone with a special ring tone. If you hear this ring tone while driving, it means dispatch needs to talk to you immediately. You are then to SAFELY find a SAFE location to pull over. Do not pull over into the breakdown lane on the highway. Get off at an exit and find a safe spot to pull the truck over and call the base phones back.
  4. In the event of a personal emergency call from home, we recommend you set up your phones with a special ring tone as with the dispatch hotline. If this call is received, you are then to SAFELY find a SAFE location to pull over and return the call.

 

 

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Topics: Safety, Safe Driving Policy, Cell Phone Policy

The Three Point Rule for Safety

Posted by Matt Manoli on Jan 2, 2010 1:14:00 PM

Dennis K Burke, Burke Oil LogoTHE THREE-POINT RULE

Falling while getting into or out of heavy equipment, a truck or tractor cab, hooking up air and electrical lines, or mounting or dismounting trailers is a sure way to get seriously hurt. Even an ankle sprain can make it difficult for you to use the clutch. Minor injuries can cost you big in terms of lost income and downtime.

No matter what type of access system your vehicle has available, use the THREE-POINT system to significantly reduce the chance of a slip or fall. The THREE-POINT system means three of your four limbs are in contact with the vehicle at all times-two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.

The THREE-POINT system allows you to have maximum stability and support, thereby reducing the likelihood of slipping and falling.

DO'S

  • Wear shoes with good support -- not sandals, bare feet or high heels.
  • Exit and enter facing the cab.
  • Slow down and use extra caution in bad weather.
  • Get a firm grip on rails or handles with your hands.
  • Look for obstacles on the ground below before exiting.

DON'Ts

  • Don't climb down with something in your free hand. Put it on the vehicle floor and reach up for it when you get down on the ground.
  • Don't rush to climb out after a long run. Descend slowly, to avoid straining a muscle.
  • Don't ever jump out. You may land off balance or on an uneven surface, and fall.
  • Don't use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface.
  • Don't use the doorframe or door edge as a handhold.
  • Don't become an injury statistic.
  • Don’t get complacent! - The only person who can prevent a fall is you!

 

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Topics: Safety