Best Practice in trucking operations is something FleetWatch loves to see and especially given the fact that the industry as a whole labours under a bad public image imparted by some bad operators who don’t give a toss about high standards. I recently came across a fine example of Best Practice at work which I just have to highlight writes Patrick O’Leary.
It was at the Sasol garage at the Pinehaven intersection where Hendrik Potgieter crosses the R24 – an intersection renowned for some horrific crashes that have taken place over the years when trucks coming down the hill from Krugersdorp lose it and smash through traffic at the intersection. It’s a bad place often referred to as Death Junction. Many people have died there.
Whenever I pass there, I think of the truck driver who careened through the robots and in panic, jumped out of the cab. He didn’t jump far enough and while he was being rolled under the wheels into a pulpy mess, his driverless rig hit a car and pushed it about 500 or so metres up the road. The occupants of the car died as well. I was there and it wasn’t a nice sight.
I also think of the father who erected a monument to his daughter who had died at that intersection when an out-of-control truck hit her car. The ‘monument’ was the wrecked car in which his daughter had died. He erected it on a podium at the top of the hill with a plea for the authorities to build a bridge at the intersection. You can read the story here: https://fleetwatch.co.za/previous/magazines/NovDec03/25-AccidentStory.htm.
It is because of all this, plus a whole lot more, that I don’t really like pulling into that garage. I don’t like that intersection at all in fact. However, I desperately needed a take-away cappuccino and thus pulled in.
I’m glad I did for it was while walking towards the shop that I noticed a Reef Tankers rig parked on the side. It wasn’t so much the rig that caught my eye – Reef Tankers rigs always look good – but more the cordoned off area around the truck. Whoever was dropping the fuel knew his safety rules. In fact, this was going beyond the safety norm.
I always notice fuel tankers at garages and often go over and talk to the guys as I have a huge admiration for the men who drive and manage these rigs. There is a good reason why they are referred to as Bulk Truck Operators rather than as truck drivers for not only are they well trained drivers but they also have a vast array of other skills needed to operate a fuel tanker.
Normally one sees the compulsory cones strategically placed around the rig but in this case, the cones were huge and a wide area was cordoned off. The cones were specially made on a set-up that included No Parking signs. I also noticed that the wheels had been chocked.
I stopped in mid-stride and thought “Wow. Now that’s how to do it.” I then walked to the other side of the rig and there was a guy attaching the hose from the tanker to the receiving tank in the ground. I couldn’t help noticing the two fire extinguishers within easy reach should some mishap occur. This man was living his company slogan ‘Driven by Passion’.
When he stood up, I walked over and greeted him complimenting him on the professional safety standards he had applied to the offloading procedure – or fuel drop area. He returned my greeting with a wide smile. His name was Priest Mufhadi and we started chatting about the volumes of fuel being dropped, the difference in payload between diesel and petrol and other issues.
I mentioned to him about the cones on the other side and here’s something that could be emulated around the country by every garage. Yes, he had put out his own cones but in addition to this, Sasol Pinehaven also has its own, larger cones which it puts out for the fuel drops. Priest pointed to the Sasol guy who he obviously views as a partner in safety. What these two guys were doing was working together to ensure the highest standards of safety were being complied to. Top stuff this!
At an intersection where so much heart-ache has played out over the years and which doesn’t hold good memories for me from what I’ve seen there, this example of Best Practice in the truck safety arena stands out as being exceptional.
FleetWatch lifts its hat to Priest Mufhadi, to Reef Tankers and to Sasol Pinehaven for this sterling example of how it should be done. You do the trucking industry proud! Yeah!