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Safety Devices - Working For You, Not Against You

Safety Devices - Working For You, Not Against You
05/09/2018

“Depress brake before shifting out of park.” “Don’t lift the chute while mower is running.” The goal of these manufacturer safety warnings is to prevent an unintended, and often dangerous, action. Automotive manufacturers put safety devices in place to prevent sudden, and possibly uncontrollable, movement of their cars. Lawn mower manufacturers install deflection chutes to prevent objects from being hurled from mowers at great velocity. Often viewed as a nuisance, safety devices also appear to slow things down. So, sometimes they are removed or disabled.

One hazardous material recovery company requires its new drivers to ride “shotgun,” in the passenger seat, for six months. During this training period, they receive instruction on proper safety procedures and operation of the various trucks. Because a driver never knows which truck he will be taking to a job site, troubleshooting is a big part of the training, with the focus on how to clear a clogged line. Typically, switching the truck’s pump from vacuum to pressure will dislodge the clog. This is easy to do, but older trucks require manual operation of a special locking valve located near the top of the collection tank. Closure of this valve is necessary to prevent the collection tank from becoming pressurized.

In preparation for his first solo run, a driver gave his rig a good inspection before leaving the terminal for a job at a refinery. Because of tales he’d heard from other drivers about these older rigs blowing up, he made a mental note that the valve handle on top was in the “closed” position.

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