Hands-on training ensures safe operation for Maverick glass haulers
New drivers for Maverick Transportation in Little Rock, Ark., spend two weeks in intensive training before they even step behind a truck and head out on the road. The reason—safety, says Dean Newell, Maverick’s vice president of safety and training.
“We’re not going to put somebody out on the road unless they can successfully do their job. Doing it safely is the biggest part of that,” Newell says.
Maverick’s program starts with a general classroom introduction to all equipment, tools and correct operation, says Wayne Carlson, the company’s manager of safety practices and training. “The rest of their training is hands on,” Carlson says. “We take them outside where we have mock-up trailers with real glass loads on them. We can slow things down in that environment to make sure they learn and understand every step.”
Maverick also requires drivers to wear appropriate clothing, including hard hats, steel-toed boots, long-sleeved shirts and gloves.
Taking those precautions should prevent incidents such as the death of a 38-year-old employee for the Green Bay, Wis., trucking company Schneider National in 2004. The driver was killed at Guardian Industries’ DeWitt, Iowa, float plant after a 4,000-pound crate of glass fell on him, according to an Oct. 25 article from the Quad-City Times in Iowa.
In October, a Clinton County, Iowa, jury found Guardian Industries negligent in the death of the Schneider driver. Maverick bought the glass-hauling division of Schneider National in June.
Drivers must follow all safety regulations and rules of customer companies while on their loading docks, Carlson says. “We teach them to ask first thing, ‘What are the policies and rules I need to abide by?’ Second, we try to create enough confidence in them so that they question policies they might deem unsafe.”
Trucker safety goes beyond correct loading and unloading, Newell says. Safe driving and proper attention to varying load sizes become critical for truckers to avoid accidents and tips that can cause serious injuries.
In August, the driver of a truck hauling 48,000 pounds of glass in Oregon lost control of the vehicle, tipping the trailer and spilling the load of glass, according to the police report. The driver had to be hospitalized because of his injuries.
Maverick relies on a simulation program in its training to give future drivers hands-on experience dealing with different load sizes to prevent tipping.
“Our simulators have sliding centers of gravity to match different loads,” Newell says. “This is very beneficial, because it offers real life road situations without real life consequences.”