Trucking: Driven by People

The trucking industry in Washington is driven by people. At least 1 out of every 19 people employed in Washington is employed in the trucking industry. Whether delivering the goods you need  everyday , or supporting those that make the deliveries; the men and women in the trucking industry are the hardest working people you will meet. Go team trucking!

Be a Shadow

We have so much information available to us these days; education, safety training, trend analysis, insurance recommendations, medical studies, etc. All this information is great at helping us develop the best and most current safety standards and practices, but what it can't do, is tell you what your staff/drivers are going through each and every day on the job.

I recommend to all safety and dispatch personnel – and anyone else that interacts directly with drivers – that they take the time, at least once a year, to get out from behind the desk, away from the phone, and work with your drivers.

When I was in Safety with a new car hauler company, I did a 1-day ride with a local driver. I picked and loaded a car directly on top of the truck cab, and walked down the ramps to the ground. It was hands down one of the scariest experiences of my life. And it wasn't until that moment, getting dizzy while looking over 10 feet down to the ground, that I really realized what my drivers went through every day. I think I also gained a little respect that day, too. Not only did my trainer-driver see me out there, working hard, but so did multiple other drivers and they kind of puffed up a little in the chest as they worked. It was a great experience.

When I got back to my desk the next morning, I was still tired and sore from the long day the day before. But I had a newfound energy to support and assist my drivers however they needed! I knew that they had so much to do already in their day, and so many frustrations, and all the regulations and training and paperwork could easily fall by the wayside during their shifts. I tried to change the way I spoke to them, with them, and about them. (Please note, I always respected the drivers, I just wanted to express it better and encourage others to as well!) This can simply be accomplished by asking, “What can I do to help you today?” or “Is there something I can do to make this easier for you?” As office staff, we typically have time to think of creative training programs, safety meeting outlines, way to meet or exceed regulations, etc. As drivers, they have physical exertion jobs that require all their attention at the time. Getting out there with them really helped that sink in for me.

Moral of the story – Shadowing your drivers helps you appreciate their schedule, job duties, and skills. Take a day and literally walk in their shoes. You won't regret it. Unless you get hurt. Then you will understand how injuries really happen on the job! 

L&I Pays Companies Back for Light Duty!

L&I's Stay at Work Program helps companies offer light duty to injured workers by reimbursing some of the costs associated!

  • Wages: 50% of paid light duty wages up to 66 days or $10,000 (whichever comes first)
  • Equipment: Up to $2,500 in equipment expenses (could be the FULL cost of equipment, which remains the property of the employer)

They also have reimbursements available for clothing and training; think truck drivers needing office or shop attire.

Let's get creative! Companies have received reimbursement for:

  • Industrial paper shredders
  • Heated parkas
  • Golf carts
  • Computers/Laptops/Netbooks
  • Sit/Stand desk attachments

And, don't forget Group Retro members have access to 80 hours of computer-based light duty for FREE! (Non-members can purchase this light duty program for a daily fee.)

Let's get your injured worker back to work safely while tapping into these benefits! Call Krystle for more information!

L&I's Three Year Lag


Now that you've had a claim, you're probably worried that your rates are going to go up next year. Well, because L&I has a three-year lag, new claims do not impact your rates right away.

This means, that a claim that occurs during this fiscal year, will not impact your rates until 2019. But, that's only two years from now, not three… confused yet? L&I looks at your claims in fiscal years. An L&I year runs from July 1st through June 30th the following year. So, technically a claim that happens at the beginning of the year, happened “last year”… and if a claim occurred today, “last year”, it would take three years to hit your rates; 2016 + 3 years = 2019.

Here's a chart to help make it easier.

Claim occurring between these dates (fiscal year):

Impacts rates for these years (calendar year):

07/01/16 – 07/01/172019, 2020, 2021

07/01/17 – 07/01/182020, 2021, 2022 

07/01/18 – 07/01/192021, 2022, 2023

07/01/19 – 07/01/202022, 2023, 2024

So, when managing your company's L&I claims, programs, policies, it's important to be looking forward.  A dollar spent now may mean thousands saved over the three years a claim impacts your rates. This is one of those situations where “it's a marathon, not a sprint” kind of things.