Thermo King Keeps it Cool at Height
Refrigerated Freight Truck Maintenance Done Safely
International truck refrigeration and heating unit maker Thermo King made their first trailer mechanical refrigeration unit in 1938. Since then, they have become an essential part of road transport all around the world. With the demand for temperature-controlled freight high at their Calgary depot, they also have busy depots in Lethbridge, High River and Brooks, too, providing installation and non-scheduled and scheduled servicing.
Even at the lowest-height truck or large van, the dangers that Thermo King’s technicians face include the possibility of serious injury from slipping and falling – uneven and glossy surfaces combined with often greasy, oily and icy conditions and old heavy steel height access products made for inefficiencies during works.
Canadian height access products manufacturer SafeSmart Access were contacted for a solution. One requirement was the need to improve manoeuvrability. The existing steel stock was bulky, heavy, and more susceptible to corrosion, unsafe. And the units’ weight was seen to possibly tempt a technician into not using them – taking dangerous shortcuts to do quick jobs. The steel products were also not up to OH&S standards.
SafeSmart’s custom capabilities are for the most part centred around the use of marine grade aluminum, a material that is highly weather and corrosion-resistant, but with superior strength.
In-house designers at SafeSmart designers took specifications from Thermo King’s refrigerated containers (‘reefers’) and the average height of their external refrigeration units and designed specialised reefer maintenance platforms and a system that combined their existing bridging products and maintenance stairs for ‘over the cabin’ access, and access at higher points along the vehicle.
Finally, Thermo King also commissioned the use of SafeSmart’s Truck Loading Platform, perfect for access trailers along the long side, with edge protection built in. The platforms allowed technicians to have tools at hand without clambering up and down to fetch them. SafeSmart also added airlines and power supply for pneumatic and power tools.
SafeSmart’s platforms and temporary stairs are easy to hand-manoeuvre and compliant with CCOHS standards. Additionally, with ample space on the platforms’ top work areas, Thermo King made an immediate observation that their workers getting the job done more safely – all the required tools and parts now go up, and stay there until the job’s done.