The Hazmat and Tanker Industry is not an easy one. The specialized equipment and safety regulations are held to a very high standard to keep the drivers and other workers safe while transporting goods. Agencies like the United States Department of Labor (OSHA),the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) set strict standards for personal safety and civilian safety. Trucking companies are responsible for upholding those standards, and improving the working conditions for their drivers and all employees. Companies in all trucking areas have their own specifications for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but being in the cryogenic industry, companies like LGT have specialized PPE for our drivers and employees.
First of all, you have to have a hard hat. This one gets forgotten a lot of the time. Truck drivers should always wear their hard hats whenever stepping outside of the truck cab. Depending on what you haul, there are different situations you might be in that require more safety equipment than others. At mills, plants, wood yards, or in the woods on the side of the road, drivers should always wear their hard hats both for safety and for visibility. Cryogenic drivers are a little different; they are required to have a hard hat with a full face shield to reduce the risk of cryogenic burns.
You only have one set of eyes, so do your best to protect them. Regular sunglasses or prescription eyewear does not meet the industry standards for protective eyewear. According to MEMIC, who are Partners for Workforce Safety, for the glasses to meet the standard, they must have ANSI z87.1 stamped on the frame. "The ANSI Z87.1certification provides a system organized based on encountered hazards. With this standard, the choice of safety eyewear revolves around what best represents the protection needed for the specific hazards encountered in the workplace (safetyglassesusa.com). The hazards for this standard are: blunt impact, radiation, splashes and droplets, dust, and small particles.
Hauling different types of loads has its own reasons for protective equipment, which is why in hauling cryogenics, drivers are provided safety glasses with side shields or safety goggles.
Protective eyewear should be worn a lot of the time, but is required specifically when:
- Mill/plant policy requires its use
- On a landing with a chipper or grinder or unloading/loading
- Performing some maintenance and repairs, especially if under the truck.
High Visibility Clothing/Safety Vest
To be safe, you have to be seen. The high visibility safety vests, which have reflective material sewn onto the orange fabric, must be worn while driving, pulling off on the road, or at a work site. Drivers are most at risk of danger when on the ground entering a work zone of an operating piece of equipment without being seen (Smart Drive Test).
Underneath the vest, our cryogenic drivers are required to wear a long sleeve shirt or a jacket. Any exposed skin has the potential of being burned if exposed to cryogenic fluids, so the thicker the material, the better.
Always wear protective gloves, and we cannot stress this enough. Leather palm gloves are your best friend for loading and unloading, hooking trailers, and just keeping your hands safe for nonhazardous materials. Special gloves are used for cryogenic hauls due to the harm that these liquids can cause to the skin. Cryogenic drivers' gloves must have long cuffs or sometimes they are required to have rubber gloves with a wrinkle finish with long cuffs for Carbon Dioxide. Wear your gloves whenever exiting the cab, whether that be for some maintenance and repair procedures, or just to keep the cab clean. Having greasy or contaminated hands and then carrying that into the truck is never fun to clean.
You wouldn't show up to a work site in your flip-flops, would you? Of course not, which is why correct footwear is a requirement. Steel-toed boots with a steel shank or a non-skid sole in the bottoms are the preferred and required choice of footwear for truck drivers. Your footwear needs to be able to stand up to objects falling on your feet or even rolling objects. They should also protect your ankles and provide adequate traction in all conditions you are exposed to. MEMIC states that "the number 1 cause of workplace injuries are due to slips, trips and falls".
Last, but not least is hearing protection. Much like our eyesight, when you lose your hearing, it's gone. Ear protection must be available at all times and is required if the driver is operating or is near a loader, or a chipper, or any other large equipment.
Cryogenic Transport Specifically
For cryogenic drivers, there are other required items that every driver should have on them or in the truck at all times. Our drivers must have fire retardant coveralls and Air monitors for H2S and O2 because these materials are highly flammable. For the NH3 drivers, we require all of the above plus a Full Face Air Purifying Respirator (APR),chemical resistant gloves and outer garments, rubber boots and Anhydrous Aprons and Ponchos due to the chemicals they are exposed to.
As for the cryogenic trailers, all of the trailers at LGT are equipped with:
- Fire Extinguisher
- Collision Avoidance System - Bendix Wingman Fusion
- Roll Stability - Wabco
- LED lighting on trailers
- Auto Tire Inflation System
- Wheel Chocks
- Safety Cones
Safety should be every driver and company's priority, which is why when dealing with these more dangerous loads, there is a lot more equipment required.
Other Helpful Equipment from Drivers
After hearing from some of our drivers, here are a few things they always have on them in case of an emergency.
- First aid kit
- Emergency kit
- LED flashlight
- Road flares
- Tool kit
- Extra fluids
- Road atlas/navigation system
- Jumper cables/jump starter
- Reflective triangles
- Spill response kits