Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Another sermon on safety!

After I got the press release from Boydstun, I decided to check out their new website. The thing that really caught my eye was the safety bulletin, which had some information on it that folks really need to pay attention to, especially if they're new to the auto transport business. The following are a few excerpts (plus my comments):

*WARNING* Exceeding 50 lbs. of force can result in significant property damage and serious injury. Under no circumstances should any driver ever apply more than 50 lbs of force to a tie down bar in order to secure a vehicle, nor should it ever be necessary to do so in order to properly secure a vehicle.

And here is another important warning:

*WARNING* Never push on the tie down bar—always pull. Pushing on the bar may cause you to fall or otherwise incur serious injury if you slip or if the chain or some other part of the tie down system breaks or comes unhooked while you are pushing.

To see Boydstun's complete safety bulletin on this issue, go here.

Here is something you really need to consider if you're a young guy getting started in your business-- carhauling is no path to "easy money". Auto transport has a pretty long learning curve, and it can be just as steep as the incline of one of those decks in a stack trailer. If you've chosen this industry as a career, learn everything you can, and respect the boundaries of the possible. Part of your work is to know when something can't be done safely. Sometimes, you just WON'T be able to make a load work, and you'll have to leave a car. I'm all for keeping customers happy, but if you injury yourself trying to crank down a car to make load height, or (God forbid) slip off the upper deck on a wet, rainy night, it's just not worth it. You've got to take this stuff seriously, because there could be really serious consequences if you don't. I'm glad that manufacturers like Cottrell and Boydstun are doing their part to design safer trailers, but safety is a shared responsibility. The dispatcher needs to be able to flex and adapt if a driver can't load a car safely. The driver needs to become an expert on his or her trailer. The maintenance department needs to do their part to anticipate a problem that might potentially cause an unsafe situation down the road. Ownership needs to be fully committed to safety and driver training. If you're an owner-operator all of these different aspects of the job yourself, you've still got to do them. (Ah, the joy of being in business for yourself!)
Well, that's the end of my sermon. You might want to check with your car hauler's manufacturer and see if there are any safety bulletins like this on the chain ratchets. And always remember: "Safety is no accident."