Towing is not exactly the safest job out there. The side of the road is an unpredictable and dangerous workplace. And with that danger comes injury. There are many common towing injuries, including slips and trips, back pain, hand wounds, falls, foot injuries, eye injuries, and roadside strikes. The question is, how can you prevent towing-related, on-the-job injuries? We’ll break down some tips to prevent common injuries.
How to prevent common towing-related injuries.
1. Prevent back pain on the job.
Tow truck drivers are susceptible to back injuries and back pain because of long hours spent behind the wheel – it’s hard on the body to be seated for so long. Towers often have to lift heavy objects, too, and frequently the things to be lifted are bulky and awkward (for example, a tire.) Straining to lift a heavy load can really harm the back.
- Take breaks to stretch and walk around.
- Use proper lifting strategies and lift from the knees.
- Adjust the driver’s seat so it’s right for you.
- Sit up straight and remove your phone and wallet from your pockets when driving.
- Get lots of sleep on a firm, supportive mattress.
- Remember to make your truck as ergonomic as possible.
2. Prevent slips and falls while on towing jobs.
It’s really easy to slip or lose your footing when you’re working on the side of the road, which is why falls are common towing injuries. The ground is often not smooth or easy to walk on, and the weather can sometimes make conditions treacherous. For example, it’s easy to slip when it’s pouring rain and the roads are slick. Plus, if it’s night time and it’s dark outside you can trip over things you can’t see.
Stay on your own two feet by:
- Using a flashlight to illuminate your path.
- Taking it slow.
- Making sure your footing is stable before stepping.
- Steering clear of grease, oil, and anti-freeze, which are super slippery.
3. Prevent cuts and lacerations on your hands.
Whether it’s a minor cut on your finger or a deep slice across the palm, it’s best to prevent hand injuries. There are a ton of ways you can hurt your hands, from cuts to breaking fingers and bones.
Keep your hands safe from towing injuries by:
- Taking your time when you’re using sharp tools.
- Being extremely careful of any sharp edges.
- Wearing the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like gloves when needed.
- Taking care around broken glass.
- Keeping wounds clean and free from infection.
4. Falls from heights.
Tow trucks are very high off the ground. If you take a fall from the cab of your truck, you could be seriously hurt. And what if you were to fall off of the bed of your truck? That could lead to broken bones and serious injury, especially because the side of the road doesn’t exactly provide a soft landing.
Keep your balance by…
- Keeping three points of contact when you’re getting in and out of your tow truck. That means that three of your four limbs should be in contact with the truck at all times – two feet and a hand or two hands and a foot.
- Not standing on the truck bed.
- Being careful of any oil or grease if you must climb on the truck bed.
- Watching where you’re stepping if you’re on an elevated surface.
5. Foot and toe injuries.
There are a lot of ways you could hurt your feet on the job. You could drop something on your foot. You could hit your toe really hard on something. You could step on something and cut your foot.
Keep your feet safe from towing injuries by…
- Wearing appropriate shoes or boots with good soles.
- Making sure your work boots support your ankles.
- Watching where you step to prevent rolling your ankle.
- Making sure that your toes are protected with a toe cap.
- Getting boots with a sole cover if you need to work at a salvage yard or another place with lots of debris.
6. Injuries from chains, wire, and rope.
If your winch breaks or your chain snaps, the tension in the rope can cause it to snap back and strike you. And that can be really harmful and cause serious injury.
- Do your pre-trip vehicle inspection to make sure all of your towing equipment is in good repair.
- Do not use any wire rope, cables, or chains that are damaged or otherwise unstable.
- Know the safe working load limit of your equipment and never exceed the weight limit.
- Make sure the work area is clear so that no one could be hurt by a cable that breaks.
- Keep yourself at a safe distance, too.
7. Roadside strikes.
Roadside tragedies in which tow truck operators get struck or killed by cars happen all-too-often. You can’t control the actions of other drivers, but you can take these steps to be safer when working on the side of the road:
- Park your truck at a slight angle about one-and-a-half truck lengths away from the disabled vehicle.
- Wear reflective safety apparel that’s appropriate to conditions.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Try to always be facing oncoming traffic.
- Move the vehicle to a safer place if you need to perform roadside assistance and it isn’t safe to do so in your current location.
Towing is a dangerous industry. It’s important to do everything you can to prevent towing injuries and stay safe on the job. Take the time to do things safely, the right way.
If you need to get tow truck insurance quotes, we can help. We can get you multiple quotes for your tow truck insurance so you can compare rates and save money on your insurance. Our towing insurance professionals would be happy to help you get great coverage at a great rate. To get started with your tow truck insurance quotes, just fill out our quote form or give us a call today.
Gratzianna, Patrick. “Top Tower Injuries.” Tow Times, June 2018, pp. 26-27.