This was the third time that Bob had switched to nights this winter! It had been an unusual hauling season and the warm weather had forced them into new areas just to keep the haul going. Bob was experienced and knew what to do to keep his energy levels up and his mind sharp when working nights. The first attempts at sleeping during the day were difficult but his family helped by keeping it quiet. His wife packed plenty of food for him and kept away from the heavy, fatty foods that made him drowsy. Bob knew that break‐up was just around the corner and that he needed to keep focused or an incident might put a crimp in his break‐up plans.
This winter has been unusually warm and this creates challenging working conditions. Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind:
- This time of year will have varied road conditions and many hazards. Watch out for ice flows, soft shoulders, and water pooling on the road that may be hiding deep holes.
- Logging trucks may have to be pulled by equipment to get out of the block. Make sure you have the right training, towing equipment and that you know the limits. Damaging yourself or your truck isn’t worth one last load.
- Visibility can be a challenge. You will be working in darkness for most of your shift and then dealing with a blinding sunrise in the morning. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses and keep your windshield, mirrors and lights as clean as possible.
- Upset conditions are situations when something happens to change your normal pattern of work. This could be a mechanical breakdown, working in a new location or with a new piece of equipment. Most incidents and injuries occur when upset conditions are present.
- Be flexible. If you have a last minute change of work location, don’t take short‐cuts, make sure the pre‐work planning is done properly and everyone has the necessary information to work safely.
- Sometimes you will find yourself on a road that you’ve never hauled on or a site that you haven’t checked out in the daylight. Be extremely cautious in these situations. Supervisors need to conduct hazard assessments in the daylight prior to starting in a new area. All this hazard info must be shared with the workers who are going to be on site.
- Here are a few tips to help make the switch to the night shift a little easier:
- Stay hydrated. Chances are you’ll have plenty of coffee but also make sure you drink enough water.
- Eat healthy, high energy foods such as a sandwich made with chicken breast and whole grain bread, low sodium beef jerky, or fresh fruit or veggies with a low fat dip. Stay away from eating big, heavy meals and spread out your eating throughout the shift.
- Plan your caffeine intake so you can sleep when you get home.
- Set yourself up with a dark, quiet place to sleep. Invest in black out curtains and ear plugs. Remove all electronic gadgets.
State of Mind
- Lack of sleep + pressure to finish the job = grumpy people. Try to keep a good attitude, slow yourself down, provide a helping hand where you can and we’ll all be that much closer to break‐up and some much earned down‐time.
- Quick Sleep Tips for Truck Drivers
- Nutrition, hydration and safe movement presentation by Dr. Delia Roberts