Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

August 18th, 2014

As Con-way Truckload’s Driver Advocate, I’m always looking for ways to keep drivers safer and healthier on the road. One of the best strategies for doing this is to simply listen. Our drivers are experienced professionals who understand the importance of working together to improve the job, so when they bring concerns, comments or ideas to me, I try to share the solutions and tips.

An issue that has been brought to my attention recently is tandem slide locking pins that won’t retract when the locking pin release arm is pulled. This is a safety issue that generally results from one of the pins binding on the slider rails. Drivers have reported injuries to their shoulders — especially damage to the rotator cuff —from trying to muscle the pins into position.


Some success has been reported from the practice of putting the truck in forward or reverse and sliding the trailer box slightly forward or backward in order to get the pins to retract. There is also the temptation to simply whack the pins with a hammer (strongly discouraged). The easiest and most effective solution is to use a lubricant on the pins and slider rails.

Lithium grease, also referred to as white lithium, is an inexpensive, easy-to-use and effective answer. It adheres well to metal, is non-corrosive, may be used under extremely heavy loads, has outstanding temperature tolerance and is resistant to moisture. It can be purchased in spray can form at any Wal-mart or automotive parts store for between $3.00 and $5.00. It stores easily, will not gum up or collect dirt and is very easy to apply. A quick shot to all four pins and a couple of pulls to work it in is all it takes.

Regular applications of white lithium will make the chore of adjusting trailer tandems easier, less work, less frustrating and reduce the risk of injury.

Stay tuned for more tips and if you have a comment or issue that you’d like me to look into, please give me a call.

-Tim Hicks

July 30th, 2014

Con-way Truckload takes pride in constantly being on the lookout to identify and remedy safety issues. As many of our professional drivers know, safety is our number one core value and to that end, we have introduced a new backing initiative to reduce these kinds of crashes at customers and consignees.

Backing crashes are the still the most common in the business.

A recent survey of our drivers and consignees conducted over a four-month period concluded that backing incidents occur four times more often at customer locations than at shipping facilities.

It only makes sense. Our drivers are picking up merchandise at distribution centers designed to accommodate the truck size and maneuverability. They then deliver to destinations such as retail stores that are not set up to receive 70 feet of truck and trailer. Often, in urban areas especially, drivers find themselves having to back in off the street, thereby blocking traffic lanes.

Con-way Truckload is dedicating itself to working collaboratively with its customers to minimize risk and make sure each facility is as safe as possible and have asked our customers to consider the following tips for improving safety at their drop-off sites. We are also looking to you, our drivers, to give us feedback on what sites are difficult to deliver to and how to help improve the situation by submitting emails to

Tips for customers:
• Review your facility regularly to identify impediments to safe backing such as disposal dumpsters, docks or walls and clearance related problems caused by low hanging tree limbs, low eaves, roofs or wires.
• Keep the area free of parked vehicles by making sure your employees park in designated areas.
• Whenever possible, and if backing in off the street is unavoidable, provide spotters for the delivery driver.
• Try to schedule delivery times so as to avoid peak traffic hours and shift changes.

Tips for drivers:
• Get out and look. We know our drivers are the safest in the industry, but don’t forget to get out of the truck to assess a delivery site for any potential issues.
• Ask for help. If you see an unsafe backing situation or potential problem, ask for assistance. Do you need another set of eyes to help you navigate or someone to hold traffic? Do you need people to move cars to accommodate the size of the truck? It’s perfectly acceptable to respectfully ask for assistance to ensure that shipments are made safely.
• Talk to us. If you had to deliver to a location that was unsafe, let us know so that we can help remedy the situation. Remember to include the
o Load number
o Whether the unsafe location is the shipper or consignee
o Brief description
o Pictures if possible, Google Earth is also a good resource

July 22nd, 2014

Open Letter from company President, Joe Dagnese

As part of my onboarding at Con-way Truckload, I decided it would be best for me to learn what we do from the ground up by taking a truck trip. I set up the week to spend five or six days out on the road with Mr. Frank Merrill, one of our professional Driver Finishers. We had a mix of tough days with short miles, mechanical issues with our trailer, and axle weight distribution problems on an automotive parts load, but we powered through, logging a total of 2,327 miles – not bad for a rookie.

My experiences from the trip were humbling and helped validate the key areas we are working on to improve our company. We have to think differently about how we approach what we do, and how we do it. One of the most important things I realized was that engaging management with our driver workforce is critical.

I discovered, during a long conversation with Frank one night, that management and drivers don’t always communicate well with each other. For example, a question was posed by one of our drivers in a “Your Voice is Heard” call, which, although the senior management team answered the question, they didn’t really answer the true underlying question. It took Frank and I almost 30 minutes of back and forth to get at what was really being asked. We, the management of the company, need to take more time to truly understand what the driver issue or need is. I have asked our management team to ensure we are addressing the true root of the questions being asked. I would also ask that you, our professional driver, try to frame up questions as transparently as possible. If you see an improvement opportunity, state the problem and reason it is an issue. Of course, your suggestions and input as to how to address the problem are absolutely welcome. To submit a question or issue, email

Frank and I also discussed the Smith Key Principles of Safety in detail as part of creating a safe driving environment, which is the foundation of our culture. What I found is that these same principles apply to how we need to think about transforming our company to make it stronger.

1. Aim high in your steering = Aim high in your goals for success.
2. Get the Big Picture = Every employee at Con-way Truckload should know how their job fits into achieving our company goals.
3. Keep your eyes moving = Have eyes for improvement to eliminate waste and inefficiencies. Do not accept “this is the way we have always done it” unless it is proven to be true.
4. Leave yourself an out = Our key focus priorities will change with the landscape of the market. It is imperative we stay ahead of what is happening around us.
5. Make sure they see you = Be a relevant company in our industry and with our customers.

I appreciated both Frank’s time and honesty. The trip opened my eyes to some important issues facing our drivers, company and industry and my purpose is to ensure that we continue grow stronger as a whole. I ask you all to share your thoughts and ideas to help us all improve. Thank you for your commitment to safety and to Con-way Truckload.

Stay safe out there,

Joe Dagnese
President, Con-way Truckload