Driving Safety

A Message About Mobile Equipment Safety


The name Bob Chandler might not mean anything to you, but you probably know his creation. It’s the meanest 4×4 truck anywhere.  It’s the show-stopping monster truck Bigfoot.

It all began in the mid 1970’s. Bob Chandler, a construction contractor, used his Ford pick-up truck on the job and for recreation. But when parts broke due to hard use, he often couldn’t find sturdier replacements. That led him to open Midwest Four Wheel Drive & Performance Center.

Partly to promote his new business, Chandler set out to make his truck bigger and stronger, with huge tires and a sky high suspension lift. In 1979, the truck with its jaw-dropping rear-wheel steering, appeared at a Denver car show, its first paid event. Truck pulls in arenas and stadiums soon followed, where Bigfoot was often the star of the show.

At a truck pull in 1981, Chandler tried something just for fun. He drove his beefed up 4×4 over two junk cars. The crowd went wild. He later duplicated the stunt at a stadium show, and in 1983 he began a sponsorship with Ford Motor Company. The legend of Bigfoot was born.

Through the 80s and 90s, Bigfoot got bigger, with massive 66” tires and a 572 cubic inch engine that pumps out 1,500 horsepower and 1,300 foot/pounds of torque. In truck pulls across the country, Bigfoot is always the crowd favorite, especially with Chandler behind the wheel.

Just like the driver of a monster truck, when you’re behind the wheel or at the controls of a forklift, crane, tractor or other mobile equipment. Remember that safety depends on you. Always carry loads properly. Operate the equipment at a safe speed. Keep your view unobstructed. Most important, stay alert for pedestrians—they have the right of way. When you operate mobile equipment, safety is your responsibility, a rule that Chandler follows himself.

Whether he’s racing or doing stunts, Chandler drives to win, but he always considers safety. In 1987, he founded the Monster Truck Racing Association, created solely to promote safety in the monster truck industry. He knows what’s at stake. That’s why he always thinks safety behind the wheel. You should too.

Forklifts and other mobile equipment are great labor saving devices, but with benefits come risks. Minimize and eliminate risk by knowing the rules, by sticking to your safety plan every time you operate equipment and by making safety a driving force every day.



*Copyright 2008 Harkins Safety (B235)

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A Message About Holiday Safety, Driving & Slips, Trips And Falls

A Holiday Beauty

Did you know the poinsettia, one of America’s most colorful holiday decorations, is not technically a flower? It’s a fact. The poinsettia is an unusual plant that grows wild in Central America but got its American name from the man who brought it here from Mexico around 1830.

Since the plant normally reaches full bloom during the holiday season, it has been called the “flor de pascua”-Christmas flower by Spanish-speaking people for centuries.

The plant caught the attention of J.R. Poinsett when he was serving as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. He packed several of the plants in his belongings and brought them to the United States when his tour of duty in Mexico ended.  An enthusiastic gardener and horticulturist, Dr. Poinsett planted this holiday beauty in his garden in Charleston, S.C. The plant flourished and was later named in his honor.

The colorful leaf-like fronds at the top of the poinsettia are not the petals of a flower but are called bracts. They surround a central cluster of tiny bead-like flowers. Since Dr. Poinsett introduced the plant, it has been grown in many parts of North America and changed dramatically by horticulturists. Florists now cultivate white, pink mottled and striped poinsettias. Even so the brilliant red of the first poinsettias remain the favorite.

The timeless beauty of the poinsettia can remind us of the true meaning of the holidays. But we should also remember that the season brings distractions and hazards that demand special safety precautions.

Be aware that hazards increase during the holidays. Poinsettias and other holiday decorations must be kept clear of fireplaces and other sources of heat. Check all decorative lights for signs of frayed cords or exposed wires, and be sure to turn them off before leaving the house or going to bed.

Watch for hazards that could lead to a slip, trip, fall or pinch. Use your on-the –job safety know-how at home to inspect indoor and outdoor decorations for defects. Dispose of used wrappings safely to prevent fire.

Practice safe driving. Driving can be especially dangerous during the holidays because of the extra traffic and extra hours of darkness. Always allow plenty of time for your trip, buckle up and adjust your speed for weather and traffic conditions. Never drink and drive. Keep the joy in your holiday and the spirits under control.

Just as a centuries-old-holiday decoration still fits our modern lifestyle, we need to remember that safety is always in season. Keep the beauty and joy in your holidays this year by following the time-tested rules of accident prevention.


*COPYRIGHT 2005 Harkins Safety B206

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A Safety Message About Driving Safety, Accident Prevention and Attitude

“The Road To Safety”

Everyone asked, “How could anyone make such a terrible mistake?”

Here’s the story.  A tragic accident on the reversible High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in Pittsburgh was a traffic engineer’s nightmare.  The reversible HOV lanes were added to Interstate 279 in 1989 to ease rush hour congestion.  Not everyone knew how they worked.

In this case, the driver of a car carrying six people to lunch made a wrong turn and wandered onto the expressway when the HOV gates were opened early by mistake.  The car was hit head-on by a pickup truck coming in the opposite direction. Five in the car and a passenger in the truck were killed in a fiery crash.

After witnesses came forward, a transportation department employee admitted he opened the entry gates to the reversible lanes before closing the entry gates in the opposite direction. He only realized his mistake when he saw cars coming toward him on the one-way roadway.  The highway department employee was fired from his job and later pled guilty to six counts of involuntary manslaughter.

High-speed motor vehicle collisions are so severe they are horrible to comprehend.  But like most other accidents, they can be prevented.  The right move by any one of the key players in this tragedy would have prevented it.  The driver entered a high-speed roadway without knowing where she was going. The driver of the pick-up truck did not look for on-coming traffic because at that time of day he thought he had the right of way. The accident could not have happened if the highway department employee had done his job by the book.

Behind the wheel of your car or on-the-job, there’s only one way-the safe way.

*Know and follow all safety rules.  They are for your protection. These rules, combined with your common sense, can help you avoid most if not all accidents.

*Suggest safer work practices.  You’re the one doing the job.  If you know a safer way to get it done, suggest it to your supervisor.  He or she will appreciate your initiative , and you may spare yourself or your coworker from an accident.

*Keep a safety attitude. Approach every job with fresh eyes and stay alert to possible hazards.  Stay focused on the task at hand.  Involve your coworkers in safety.  And always keep your emotions in check on the job.


*Copyright 2003 Harkins Safety

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A Safety Message About Commercial Driving Safety, Seat Belts & Attitude (2)

“The Thousand Miles”

All of Italy turns out every year for the Mille Miglia, one of the most exciting car races in motor sport. It is a celebration of tradition, passion and speed. It is where marques like Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari and Porsche made their legends. But it is also marked by tragedy.

The Mille Miglia, which means “The Thousand Miles” in Italian, was established by two wealthy racing enthusiasts who decided to create their own motorcar race when the Italian Grand Prix was yanked from their hometown of Brescia. They chose a course from Brescia to Rome and back, a distance of 1,000 Roman miles. The first race in 1927 had 75 starters, all Italian and the winner finished in under 21 hours.

The cars in the Mille Miglia were started in one-minute intervals. But the drivers were daring, and racing was dangerous.

In the 1930 Mille Miglia, Tazio Nuvolari drove like a demon to pass every car in sight. When he caught the last challenger, he turned off his headlights to remain undetected, followed the leader’s taillights, then shot ahead to win.

Nuvolari’s maneuver may have paid off on the racetrack but it wouldn’t be worth the risk in everyday traffic. Instead, when you’re behind the wheel:

  • Obey all the rules of the road.
  • Be alert to constantly changing traffic and road conditions.
  • Leave yourself extra braking distance when driving large vehicles.
  • Always wear your seat belt and insist that passengers do as well.
  • Make sure that your vehicle is safe to operate.
  • Don’t take chances-it isn’t worth risking an accident that could injure you or someone else.

Always follow the rules and go the extra mile for safety and you’ll have many accident- free years down the road.

In the 1957 Mille Miglia, a fatal crash took the lives of a driver, his co-driver and 11 spectators in the Italian village of Guidizzolo. It was caused by a blown tire, later found to be defective.

The Mille Miglia resumed one year after that fatal crash, but as a road rally for classic pre-1957 cars, not an all-out race. Renamed the Mille Miglia Storica, it draws historic car lovers from all over the world to this day.

Remember that you’re in the race for the long run. Use your safety smarts, keep a cool head, stop and think and always…


Drive Defensively,

Stay Alert, Use Seat Belts

* Copyright 2006 Harkins Safety

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A Safety Message About Commercial Driving Safety, Seat Belts & Attitude (1)

“Speed Kills; Safety Saves”

Barreling into the banked corner at the Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt the legendary No. 3, smashed head-on into the wall in one of the most tragic crashed in NASCAR history. Earnhardt was killed instantly. Ironically it was the final lap of the race.

In fourth place at the time Earnhardt entered that fateful turn at 180 mph when he grazed the car beside him. Earnhardt’s car swerved sharply to the right and was hit broadside by yet another car, catapulting Earnhardt on into the wall. As horrified fans gasped, the rescue teams sprang into action. But it was too late.

In the aftermath of the accident, a $1 million investigation raised questions but revealed little. Some claimed that Earnhardt’s seatbelt ripped apart in the crash. His head hit either the steering wheel or the support behind the seat and the impact killed him. Others said Earnhardt’s crew didn’t fit the belt properly before the race. Still others insisted that the head-and-neck restraint, which Earnhardt didn’t like to use, would have saved his life.

Whatever the reason, Earnhardt, known as the Intimidator for his aggressive driving style, had reached the end of an illustrious career. No more trophies, no more Winner’s Circle. It remains a tragic loss.

Race car driving is a dangerous game, but so is everyday driving on our nation’s highways if you fail to follow the rules of safe driving.

  • Stay alert for road signs. Traffic signs are there for your safety; use them.
  • Anticipate changing conditions. Traffic patterns change constantly. Sudden rain, snow or fog could threaten safety within minutes. Expect the unexpected.
  • Wear safety belts. It’s not only a good idea, it’s the law.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Alcohol and drugs impair judgement and reduce reaction time.
  • Beware of big vehicles. Trucks and other large vehicles require greater breaking distance and are more prone to tipovers if turned sharply. Keep that in mind when you’re driving larger vehicles or driving with them on the highways. And always use extra caution around school buses.
  • Don’t tailgate. It’s unsafe and discourteous. Drive friendly.
  • Allow enough following distance for traffic and road conditions.
  • Avoid road rage. Anger has no place behind the wheel. Stay cool, stay safe.


* Copyright 2002 Harkins Safety




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