Wreckmaster Blog


Be safe out there Part 4: Checklists for avoiding problems

Posted by Justin Cruse on June 11, 2018

Here we are, at part four of Wreckmaster's five-step protocol for staying safe and working efficiently: checking the "no"s. In this article, we quickly review the steps to this point, then offer two checklists to help identify anything that could compromise the tow or recovery. 



The Wreckmaster Discipline has five steps to ensure a safer, faster tow or recovery, with each step corresponding to one of the letters in the word 'SCENE.' 


S stands for “SURVEY”

C stands for “CALCULATE” 

E stands for “EXPLAIN”

N stands for “NOs”

E stands for “EXECUTE”


Our first article covered 'SURVEY,' where the operator checks out every detail at the scene and puts together a plan.

Step two: 'CALCULATE,' was covered in the second article, complete with formulas to calculate the force you'll need to overcome to recover or tow a casualty and links to Wreckmaster apps that will do the heavy lifting for you.

The third article, 'Explain,' provided some tips to communicate effectively on scene.




You've completed your survey, done the necessary calculations, and explained to the person in charge at the scene what you're going to do. You've managed the traffic, secured the scene, performed any off-loading or debris cleanup, and tended to any hazmat issues. You've set everything up for recovery: you've stabilized the recovery units, married the winch lines to the rigging on the casualty, and loaded the lines to the point where the casualty moves slightly.

It's your last chance to check the casualty, the terrain, the rigging, and the recovery units for any possible problems that may interfere with a successful recovery—a step we refer to as checking the 'no's.

Here are your final inspection checklists. They aren't comprehensive, but they're a good start. Want to add an item? Let us know in the comments section!

Checklist 1: Up close and personal

  • Check the ground stability
  • Make sure you've considered any gradients in your calculations
  • Look for obstacles, such as tree stumps, fence posts or sign posts
  • Confirm that the rigging is attached to components on the casualty that have the integrity to withstand the forces of the recovery. This will avoid secondary damage to the casualty and shock loads caused by failed rigging points  
  • Inspect chains, straps, hooks and wire for travel path to ensure nothing can slide or reposition during the recovery process and cause an unexpected shock load or damage the casualty or the rigging
  • Make sure the hooks are properly positioned and loaded correctly to avoid tip loading and side loading
  • Secure hooks with latches fully closed or secure mouse hooks without provisions for latches with mechanic's wire or duct tape.
  • Make sure the wire rope is in a straight line from the boom head to the casualty or the snatch blocks, and only contacts at the termination device and sheaves.

Checklist 2: Looking at the big picture

  • Make sure the boom heights are sufficient
  • Be sure the truck or trucks are stable enough and placed properly to anchor the load
  • Ensure the length of the wire rope to the rigging is sufficient to exceed balance points for any uprighting procedures
  • Make sure wire departure angles off the boom head are not too sharp.

If your final check reveals any problems or issues, this is the time to address them. Release tension on the wire and make any and all corrections necessary for a successful recovery.  


One more step to go—'E' for 'execute.'


Topics: Useful towing tips, Tow truck safety

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