From the Training Desk: “What side are you on?”

From the Training Desk: “What side are you on?”

A message and reminder for operators at all levels. 

From the Training Desk

“What side are you on?”

No, no, I am not talking about the Twix commercial, politics, or any other division of our society. I’m talking about how you’re working the controls while on a scene.

In our industry today we lose over 60 operators annually, that is 1 operator nearly every 6 days! Absolutely tragic. Now I am not saying this for shock value, I am speaking to the reality of how dangerous an environment operators find themselves in each day.

 Now let me get straight to the point. Where the operator is positioned while working the controls has a direct influence on their exposure to passing traffic. Equipment manufacturers have responded to the issue by incorporating dual control stations as well as optional remote controls that can operate various functions of the equipment – wrecker or carrier. However, what we are seeing in our industry are operators that for various reasons (excuses) are still working the controls on the most exposed side of the towing unit. This is one of many safety awareness issues addressed in our “Essentials” training courses. If it is the most reasonably safe location, work from the non-traffic side of the towing unit. If your unit is equipped with a remote-control system, evaluate the scene situation, and locate yourself in a position where you can still task your work while keeping away from and an eye on approaching traffic. Now, just because you have done all of this does not guarantee your safety, however, it does reduce your risk exposure. That said, keep in mind as well, you should always have a path of egress. In other words – always have an escape or an ‘out’ should things start to go wrong.

Priority number one on any scene for any operator is their own personal safety. There is a constant, and never-ending need to always be evaluating and adjusting to the situation to make sure you are working from the best possible location. This is not just a seasonal call to task, this is needful on every call, 24/7 – 365.  Evaluate every scene and position accordingly, keep a path of egress…. go home at the end of your shift.

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