Using Common Sense Moving Your Truck
Does common sense mean that it’s so common that everyone has it? Certainly we see circumstances everyday that challenges the notion that everyone actually has common sense. In an article I recently read from Heavy Duty Trucking Online Magazine (which you can read here). It talks about a mechanic getting crushed to death in a tire shop. Believe it or not, in the trucking industry, truck drivers, dock workers and other folks put their life on the line everyday. Sometimes it is just simple everyday tasks and sometimes it is due to horrible weather conditions and slick roads. In this article we want to cover some of the more mundane activities that require us to use our common sense as drivers.
As it relates to the article. A mechanic working in or around your truck is certainly in danger. Just the weight of the bobtail alone is enough to kill a human several times over. Not to mention a quick and painful dismembering as well. Most shops have policies and protections in place to avoid workplace injuries. And in the United States they are also governed by OSHA Regulations (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Some of these policies require shops to remove keys, place chocks and require eye protection. These are safety rules that we as drivers need to be aware of and respect. A driver should never go waltzing into a shop and move around it like he owns the joint. Not only are they putting themselves at risk, they are putting the mechanics at risk as well. Also, I have yet to meet a mechanic that isn’t really concerned about his tools. And you may get accused of something you didn’t do. And since you are the newcomer to the scene you could get blamed for breaking or stealing their tools. And no one wants to be on a mechanic’s bad list.
So make sure that if you are invited into a shop with a mechanic use your common sense and clarify any safety rules you are unsure of. Don’t touch anything you aren’t supposed to, which generally means don’t touch anything. Also, don’t operate your truck unless you have been given instructions to do so and you have a guide in the shop. Most shops will have a mechanic guide you in and out and make sure you aren’t going to hit anything. Before you even get into your truck and start it up. Make sure you check to see if the shop door is all the way open. I have heard of instances where the driver runs into a partially down door and ruins his safety record. Wait outside the truck till that thing hits the top and stops. Double check underneath and around your vehicle and proceed with great caution.
Some of these principles also apply to a dock situation. How many times have you heard of a forklift driver getting killed because the driver pulled out when he wasn’t supposed to? We are constantly working around support personnel in the trucking industry. And if we aren’t careful we may start eliminating them one by one. Now, I know that some of these shippers and receivers we would like to eliminate them because they take too much time. But remember, if you kill someone in a big truck. Chances are you will be going to the big house for a long time. Big trucks equal big money, big fines and big jail time. So use your common sense, double check to make sure people are out of the trailers. Make sure you double check to make sure they aren’t under your trailers or truck. And pull away slowly.
So the next time a shipper, receiver or shop asks for your keys. Or they ask you to unhook and drop your trailer and pull forward. It is for their safety. It is not to screw with you and put you in a bad mood. Use your common sense when in and around shops, docks and truck stops. Make sure you are double checking for humans everywhere. If you have an empty trailer and don’t put a lock on it. Double check to make sure someone didn’t jump in there to get out of the cold while you were sleeping. If you weren’t born with common sense, don’t buy it at a truck stop because it will be too expensive. Go check for it at the discount store. Just be aware of what others are doing around you and be aware of your surroundings. It could mean the difference between life and death.