The Week's Features
Once we saw the design, they knew we couldn’t go back
Driving any vehicle over a septic tank is an accident waiting to happen
Four unfunded bills would cost the industry billions
New management service addresses major impound “pain points”
Lightweight non-sparking tube that makes uprighting easier
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A British Man Finds Towing Safety Inspiration in America: Slow Down, Move Over a Worldwide Problem

--Charles Duke
By Don Lomax
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The 2017 Tax Cuts Act has helped my business
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more better than not
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Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203,
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Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
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Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
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Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
American Towman Wire • 10-15-2019
The Indiana Towing and Wrecker Association and other interested groups are hosting their second annual Move Over Indiana Day at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Saturday, October 19.


Don't Miss It!
Join Jim Figueira and Ed Grubbs of Environmental Chemical Solutions for a presentation that addresses the leaks and staining at vehicle storage facilities from damaged vehicles. Their seminar, “The Uncontaminated Vehicle Storage Facility,” will explore proper best management procedures that address and eliminates the staining from these leaks. Their seminar will be presented during the American Towman Exposition, Dec. 4-7, at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Register today! atexposition.com

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October 09 - October 15, 2019
Alvin Colon’s family business helped Tenitia Cullum, who recently lost her 3-year-old child in a terrible accident, by towing and fixing her car free of charge. Image - spectrumlocalnews.com.
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American Towman Exposition Gallery
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October 09 - October 15, 2019
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City, State
RATES

Plantsville, CT
$88
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Beeville, TX
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Lake Station, IN
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$178
(Pop. 16,336)

Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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October 09 - October 15, 2019
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October 09 - October 15, 2019
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October 09 - October 15, 2019
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October 09 - October 15, 2019
Last week’s ALS Resolvion’s Innovations in Recovery Summit featured (l. to r.) Mike Levison of ALS Resolvion; Justin Zane of Recovery Database Network; Andy Sinclair of International Recovery Systems; and Cort DeHart of MBSi Corp. Image - Nick Zulovich.

Workplace Violence and PTSD

Active-Shooter.pic .flyer  71ba6By Brian J. Riker

Although workplace violence-related deaths have fallen slightly the statistics are still alarming. According to the most recent data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, there were 703 related deaths in 2017. This number is down from 866 in 2016 but still higher than previous years.

There have been several workplace violence incidents recently in the towing industry, with one tower shooting and critically injuring another tower just last week in western Pennsylvania. Often I read reports of towers being robbed or held at gunpoint, forced to release a vehicle or shot at while attempting a tow.

What about suicide? Although not common among towing operators it does happen. Of the 703 workplace violence deaths in 2017, 351 were caused by the intentional shooting by another person and 275 were suicides.

"There is a pressing need for organizations to understand that suicides that occur in the workplace are a growing problem," said W. Barry Nixon, executive director of the National Institute for Prevention of Workplace Violence.

I believe that, if studied, towers would have similar tendencies as other first responders to inflict self-harm after a traumatic event. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is real and needs to be addressed as part of your workplace violence and employee wellbeing policies.

Having a plan in place to address and prevent workplace violence is paramount. Many employers are already addressing active shooter incidents; however few recognize other forms of workplace violence.

Does your company have an updated plan to respond to these situations? Supervisors should be trained to recognize the early warning signs and have a process to act on this information in a timely manner. This training should include how to evaluate your employees as well as other potential threats such as distraught customers or visitors.

According to OSHA, the workers with the highest risk of exposure to violence are workers who exchange money with the public, delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, public service workers, customer service agents, law enforcement personnel and those who work alone or in small groups. Towmen match several of these categories.

OSHA has several recommendations to reduce exposure to violence faced by for-hire drivers, several of which can be put into place by towing companies:

• Not accepting cash, especially late at night or on the roadside.
• Visible security cameras inside vehicles to discourage assault and provide evidence after an assault has occurred.
• GPS-tracking devices with panic buttons on vehicles.
• Regular check-in calls to verify drivers' welfare.
• Establishing a working relationship with local police and authorizing them to make welfare check traffic stops of your vehicles in high-risk areas.

These protocols are a good start and can be applied to most any type of service company or situation where someone is working in a remote area. Many of these physical deterrents such as cameras and no cash policies will also work at your office and yard locations. I would also suggest requiring a valid identification before offering a ride to a customer and calling in that information to dispatch so they know who is with you.

Your employees may also be subject to domestic violence in the workplace. This is usually a result of a relationship gone bad where a non-employee comes to your workplace to assault their target. This could also be triggered by an inter-office relationship turning sour.

The main components of any effective safety and health program can be applied to the prevention of workplace violence. These include:

• Management commitment and employee involvement.
• Risk evaluation.
• Hazard control.
• Employee training.
• Record keeping system.
• Program evaluation.

Post-incident response is critical. The safety of your workers and any visitors on site is the priority. Steps should be taken to immediately provide for protection and security of everyone, obtain medical care (if necessary), report the incident to the appropriate authorities and preserve evidence for investigation.

Post-incident debriefings and counseling may be called for. There is nothing wrong with seeking counseling; it is a perfectly normal response to a traumatic event. Keeping things bottled up inside or pretending you were not affected is this worst way to respond to a traumatic event.

A well-thought out workplace violence prevention plan will have easy to execute procedures for safety and security, preestablished contacts with crisis councilors and other specialists, a list of emergency contacts and a chain of command priority structured list.

The plan should be reviewed and revised as needed and at least annually. Employees need to be trained how to recognize and respond to these events. They should be encouraged to report any unusual or otherwise suspicious behaviors immediately.

As an employer you have a duty to provide a safe workplace and should take these reports seriously, investigate and take appropriate action.

Brian J Riker is a third generation towman and President of Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC. He specializes in helping non-traditional fleets such as towing, repossession, and construction companies navigate the complex world of Federal and State transportation regulatory compliance. With 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator Brian truly understands the unique needs and challenges faced by towing companies today. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net
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