I'm curious from people who have hauled fuel longer than me what are some quality of life things you use to make the job easier on you. Such as things to make opening to drop covers easier on you.
Quality of life for fuel hauling
Page 1 of 2
Nothing like a good old flat head screwdriver to open the lids. I don't think I really use any tools or gadgets to help me with my day-to-day tasks though. In the BOL room at the Holly rack in Las Vegas, there was a flyer on the wall for a type of roller to help you "walk out" your hoses that looked like it was maybe worth buying (I didn't). I think having a good routine with mental checklists for loading and deliveries is the biggest help.
Several of our older guys use the above tool.
As a night guy, got to have an intrinsically safe flashlight. I also carry a small adjustable curve pry bar-works good for lids, but even better to pop locked caps when the lock is frozen. And speaking of winter, we always keep shovels on the truck to clear snow off fills. Also had to dig out my carhart fs helmet liner the other day-great for those nights in Canada where you have to stand around for an hour loading propane.
I used a fifth wheel puller to pull the lids as well as pop the caps too. I tried the roller thing. It works but at the time I had a good back so lifting and leaning back was easier. Intrinsically safe flashlight was also mentioned and a smart idea. Some tags are hard to see and you NEVER drop without confirming tags.
I have had the station worker write on a piece of paper the product and put it in the fill pot as I recorded them. Find out what your boss wants you to do before this comes up.
Use hose straps or bungee cords when running a pump just in case.
A paper clip can be used to help a worn-out out hose cam but then get it fixed.
Have caps for your product hose in case you have to drop diesel last.
If you have internals that use cables to open have the shop make up a 4ft length and give you connections.
Carrie an extra set of clothes. Only needed them twice in eight years but was glad I had them.
Learn to burp the hose. This will get the hose clear and allow you to stuff the tank. Learn to never have to do this. I did this a few times with oversized tanks that I couldn't stick and the veeder-root was off.
Ask for a strapping chart for the specific trailer you have.
A six foot product hose is sweet for a single tank drop or if the other hose is just shy of reaching.
Use the bucket and have spill pads on hand. Shouldn't need them but if you do you'll regret not having them. A cleaned up mess can be dealt with but if a customer needs to get involved it'll go to a new level.
Learn what connectors you need for your setup and keep them in your fitting box Raise hell if things are borrowed with no note and are not put back.
Look for scratches and scrapes when you enter a unfamiliar station. This will tell you where others have messed up.
The best quality of life advice in my opinion is get into a routine.
1. Spot truck
2. Grab veeder-root and check address.
3. Cones & pop lids
4. Stick tanks
5. Confirm compartment tags to paperwork. (People can and have changed the tags)
6. Make sure everything fits before offloading.
7. Walk the line each time before opening anything.
This is the boring part but never allow yourself to start skipping things to save time.
Diesel first I agree. Just not always possible. Dropping diesel first also flushes out your hose so no caps are needed. If diesel needs to be dropped last it doesn't evaporate like gas and will get over everything. That's why you have the caps. Just in case.
I mentioned two types of tags.
First is the ones you flip to just above your offloading hookup. I once had another driver flip them to the wrong product. Luckily my trainer had warned me this could happen so I always confirmed that my paperwork and tags matched. Only happen once.
The other tags are in the fill pots. Reg, Mid, Prem, Diesel. If the tag was missing I'd have the attendant write one on a piece of paper and drop it in the box while I recorded it. Then call dispatch to get the go ahead recorded. Just a CYA incase it's the wrong product.
I ALWAYS after hooking up looked into fill pot and read the tag, then walked the hose to the off load, read the tag there and only then did I open the valve.
Anyone who says they never hooked up to the wrong tank is probably full of BS. We've all done it. But if you take all of 10 sec to walk your hoses you'll never cross dump. I never did. Almost did, but always caught it.
Almost making a mistake like that is better than a cup of coffee to wake you up for the rest of your shift.
Follow all the safety rules your trainer taught you. You'll be slow at first. We all were. Then one day you'll have the dance down and then your fast. I took 25-35 to offload and 15 - 20 minutes to load. No skipping safety steps. And there were plenty of guys faster than me being just as safe.
Good luck and safe travels.
Page 1 of 2