I felt so sad when I learned recently that yet another roadside recovery operative has lost his life and then I find out that, worse still, another one has perished just doing a day’s work like so many other people do. I can’t even imagine the profound effect this must have not only on the family of the dead workers but also on their remaining work colleagues and friends. It goes without saying that a mental scar must hang over the business forever. I canâ€™t imagine a day passing for many, many years when the incident will not be recalled.
What about the remaining workforce that could easily have to go back to the same location, perhaps recover the same type of car, at the same time of day. It is enough to send a shiver down anyoneâ€™s spine.
When I heard about these two incidents I went to talk to my staff really to remind them of the dangers and to use the experience I suppose as a warning. At this point I realised that we are still all very short of facts as to how these two dedicated recovery operators came to lose their lives. Most of my staff wanted to know more and I can see why this is because a sure way to avoid an accident is to know how the last one happened. We may have to wait of course until after the inquest but I feel very strongly that the full facts of these accidents and several before them should be published in the recovery trade press: we are talking about trade press and not page three of the Sun, so any published report would have to be seen as constructive.
I am also involved in a small way with aviation and when any aircraft, especially a small light aircraft or helicopter, is involved in an accident, fatal or otherwise, a full report is published for all to see and if it is the pilot that is at fault people will learn from the mistake but little other action is necessary. Whereas if approved procedure has been found wanting or mechanical failure is part of the incident, then more work needs to be done. So please let us have the full facts of these accidents.
Not to dismiss these fatalities lightly, I do worry that it can become an excuse for people to attempt to make money out of some regulation change: so-called voluntary of course. As I wrote recently in Professional Recovery (read here) there are quite a few people milling about who canâ€™t help themselves when it comes to extracting money from us and since they basically have very few scruples these situations are bread and butter to them.
On the subject of my article in Professional Recovery, I have had numerous operators thanking me for airing the views that I did and I have to thank RRRAâ€™s Peter Cosby for his support and of course he is still working in the industry.
I have only had one operator who described me as full of my own opinion, but did not say whether I was right or wrong and not one comment at least that I have seen from any of what I call â€œquangosâ€. Many of the operators who spoke to me pointed out something that is a little bit disappointing to say the least.
Many of these people who are installing themselves in this self regulation and then taking money from us one way or another, are people who a few years ago were like us; they worked diligently and successfully in our industry. These are people at that time I held in high esteem. I would have shared a drink with any of them and chewed the cud over the rights and wrongs of our industry. But for various reasons they have sold up, opted out or retired and have now by and large come back to haunt us.
If these people had decided to set their stall out differently, how much more different our lives would be.
Fred Hendersonâ€™s views are not necessarily the views of Recovery World