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Tow Plow Operators Training

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1 Tow Plow Operators Training

2 Tow Plow Trailer snow plow designed to be towed with a truck and standard plow configuration 25’ clearing path with a 12’ front plow Improve services by: Providing faster results Reducing cost for equipment, fuel and labor Open discussion on ways the Tow Plow can reduce operating costs. Discuss labor, fuel and equipment costs between a conventional gang plow operation versus a Tow Plow gang. Pictures on slide include two gang plow operations on same highway. Left pictures shows a typical single truck with 12’ and 14’ plows utilizing 7 plow/trucks. Right picture on same highway shows 2 Tow Plows with 14’ front plows and one clean up tandem front plow truck with 14’ plow.

3 Contact Time 12 total contact hours (required)
Classroom, hands-on and closed driving course 4 hours Dry-run (pre-winter) Experienced operator will drive to demonstrate proper procedures New operator will drive and be evaluated by experienced operator Checklist to be completed During storm check ride (optional) No set amount of contact time As required by supervisor Release to operate the Tow Plow on decision of experienced operator Checklist to be completed during check ride Explain: MoDOT training requirements for Tow Plow operators. Explain: What will be discussed in the classroom and that a majority of the class will focus on hands-on training in order to become familiar with the Tow Plow, its components and inspection process, along with installation and removal from the tow vehicle. The hands-on session also will include several exercises (shown in the training manual) that will be performed on a closed lot. Repeat the closed lot exercises until the operator becomes familiar with the controls, operating characteristics and can operate on the closed lot in a safe and efficient manner. Explain: Once the 8 hour classroom training is completed, a dry-run will then be required at any time prior to the first snow storm with an experienced operator. This dry-run will provide an opportunity for the new operator to become familiar with the operation and handling characteristics of the Tow Plow. A checklist will be provided to cover different scenarios and to point out operating procedures along with road side hazards that will be encountered during actual operations. This and the classroom training will be documented in the LMS and will complete the required training. An “optional” check ride during storm conditions can also be included into the training at the discretion of the supervisor in order to give a new employee additional training time during actual storm conditions. This will be documented in the employee’s personnel file.

4 Course Objectives Identify Tow Plow key components
Identify all safety hazards, terms and labels Perform a pre and post-trip inspection Describe preventative maintenance Identify and become familiar with all in-cab operator controls Demonstrate on a closed course the safe and proper Tow Plow operating procedures Explain: The course objectives. This a basic checklist of each component of the classroom training.

5 Training This training will focus on standard configuration
There are many different configurations based on district specific orders Tow Plows may be outfitted with on or more of the following: 1000 gallon liquid chemical tank 8 cubic yard spreader Become familiar with your Tow Plow Train with equipment to be used Train in area that the operator “typically” will be assigned to Explain: This training focuses on general Tow Plow configurations. Within MoDOT there are many different configurations depending on district preferences. Granular spreaders and liquid chemical tanks may be stand alone or a combination of both. Connection of hydraulics, liquid chemical lines, etc., may vary from each Tow Plow due to specific configuration and installation of accessories in each district. Vehicle requirements may also require specific configurations such as, multi-role trucks such as, the hook lift vehicle that MoDOT uses within its fleet. It is important to train with your specific Tow Plow so that the operators become familiar with your configuration.

6 Safety Become familiar with all operating characteristics prior to operation during a winter event Be aware of your surroundings Must be able to see the Tow Plow Clean windows Clean mirrors In-cab adjustable mirrors Supplemental night lighting Explain: It is important to become familiar with the operating characteristics of the Tow Plow. Before activating any controls, always be aware of your surroundings to ensure that there are not any people or vehicles near the Tow Plow. Explain: It is imperative that the windows and mirrors are clean at all times and the Tow Plow is visible to the operator. To facilitate this, ensure that the mirrors are power operated from the cab to ensure visibility of the Tow Plow at all positions. Also ensure that mirror heat is activated to ensure that snow and ice does not interfere with visibility.

7 Safety and Warning Labels
Become familiar with all safety warnings and labels Replace labels when: Damaged Not legible In addition, become familiar with additional equipment on the Tow Plow including: Spreader Liquid chemical tank(s) Show: Have the employees become familiar with all factory safety warning labels on the Tow Plow and the accessory equipment that is installed. Explain: What the safety label is drawing your attention to and why. Open discussion on the hazard and how to avoid it.

8 Lockout / Tagout All employees shall follow MoDOT’s
lockout/tagout procedures prior to performing any work on the Tow Plow Control of hazardous energy shall be complied with under Section The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout / Tagout) Follow manufacturer’s procedures Tow Plow Accessory equipment installed on the Tow Plow Explain: MoDOT’s policy of controlling hazardous energy. Open discussion: What hazardous energy will need to be controlled on the Tow Plow? Shut off the truck and remove the key to eliminate activation of the hydraulic controls Install mold board lock pins Disconnect the hydraulic lines Tagout the Tow Plow to ensure it is not used when maintenance or repairs may be needed to prevent use. Ask the class what other controls may be performed Demonstrate procedures to control hazardous energy that is associated with the Tow Plow and how to Control the hazardous energy. Remind the employees to refer to the Tow Plow owners manual.

9 Inspections Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the inspection and maintenance schedules Hydraulic fluid level on tow vehicle Inspect tires for damage, proper inflation and that all lug nuts are in place and have not become loose “STAY BACK 100 FEET” sign installed on rear of Tow Plow All safety and warning labels are in place and legible Discuss the inspection procedure. Explain: During the hands-on portion of the class the inspection procedure will be demonstrated to ensure that the participants are familiar with the inspection process and able to identify all of the components to be inspected and what to look for.

10 Inspections Continued
Visually inspect all hydraulic hoses and connectors for wear, damage, and leaks Check all cables, chains, and sheaves for excessive wear and damage Visually inspect all plow and wing units Inspect cutting edge and shoes for excessive wear Do not allow cutting edge to wear down into the mounting angle on the mold board

11 Inspections Continued
Inspect mounting arms for excessive rust, damage, cracks in welds or bent and broken sections Inspect mounting holes on the arms and lugs for excessive wear Mounting holes greater than 3/16” clearance are to be repaired Dump air from the brake storage tanks on tow vehicle and the Tow Plow to remove excessive moisture and ensure that the system air pressure returns and does not leak Add air brake drier to brake system to prevent air brake freezing during extremely cold weather

12 Lubrication Grease all required components
All plow harness sheave nipples All hydraulic pump drive shaft nipples Front and rear tower sheaves and swivel blocks Wing extension arm nipples Front and rear tower guide tracks All front harness pivot points Check for loose or missing fasteners (nuts, bolts, cotter pins, lock rings, etc.) Follow lubrication procedures for the Tow Plow and accessory equipment, such as spreaders Refer to the owner’s manual for specific intervals Explain: To follow the manufacturer’s lubrication requirements. Explain: The lubrication points will be pointed out during the hands-on portion of the class. Discuss: Extra lubrication requirements based on configuration (spreaders, etc.).

13 Hydraulic Set-up Check hydraulic set-up prior to use
System pressure should be 2300 psi Set hydraulic trims/flow for steering and mold board operation Ensure that Tow Plow response is: Consistent Smooth Not too slow (may reduce reaction time for obstacles) Not too fast (could cause handling issues and damage) Include operator to ensure response is adequate to the operators preference and needs Explain: Hydraulic set-up must be completed to ensure proper operation of the Tow Plow. Have a mechanic assist in the set-up process. It is vital that the truck hydraulic system pressure is set and calibrated. Always have the operator assist in hydraulic circuit set-up to ensure proper deployment/retraction, and mold board up and down position to ensure smooth response.

14 Installation Standard Configuration
Connection of hydraulics and liquid chemicals for spreaders and liquid tanks may vary Refer to your experienced Tow Plow operator or District General Services for additional requirements Attach Tow Plow to tow vehicle pintle hitch Pintle receiver locked Raise landing gear into full up position and handle stored in tow position Air brake lines/glad hands connected (no leaks) Connect Tow Plow safety chains Connect plow lift hydraulic circuit Connect steering hydraulic circuit 7 wire trailer plug installed and all Tow Plow lights operational 6 wire plug installed and all operator lights are operational Inspect all lighting for damage and proper operation Explain: That the installation procedure will be performed during the hands-on portion of the class. Due to multiple configurations, include installation / hook up and preparation of accessory equipment such as, spreaders and liquid chemical tanks/application devices.

15 Operational Preparation
Ensure brakes are released and not frozen Gently pull against the Tow Plow with brakes released to ensure brakes are not frozen Remove mold board lock pins Stand behind mold board Start at center pins working out Installing mold board lock pins Install for transport or when deployment is not required for extended duration Start with outside pins and work to center Explain: Importance of checking the Tow Plow for proper operation prior to plowing operations. After long durations of storage or during extremely cold weather the brakes may be frozen. To prevent damage to the Tow Plow tires or the plow itself, gently pull against the Tow Plow with the brakes released and check that the brakes have in fact released. In some cases a white line is painted on the tires to give the operator visual reference of brake release. Explain: The Tow Plow has lock pins installed and shall be used in the tow position when Tow Plow use is not anticipated for long periods of time. During the hands-on session, demonstrate proper lock pin removal and installation. Explain: During pin removal, always stand behind the Tow Plow. This will allow the operator room to remove the pins without the risk of being struck by the plow or lift arms in the event that the plow would fall. Explain: To remove the pins always start at the center of the plow and work your way to the outside. This will keep the plow pinned and allow the operator a safe opportunity to move from behind the plow to the end for final pin removal. REVERSE this process when installing the lock pins. Always pin both ends of the plow first to allow the operator to step behind the plow to insert the center pins as the last step.

16 Operational Check Perform operational check prior to leaving maintenance facility Steering (deployment and retraction) Steering wheels move freely through full stroke of activating cylinder while moving forward Mold board (up and down) Determine that the mold board moves freely from full up to full down Explain: Once the Tow Plow is installed to the tow vehicle, perform an operational check of all controls. This should also include operational checks of mirrors, spreaders and liquid chemical applicators.

17 Deployment / Retraction
Visually check to ensure that the Tow Plow is clear of traffic USE YOUR MIRRORS Do not deploy or retract while stopped to prevent damage to the Tow Plow’s tires Full deployment is not required to operate Deploy to any desired position Always deploy to a position that will clear all obstacles Deployment (steering) and mold board functions (up and down) can be performed at the same time if desired Explain: Prior to deployment on the road, visually check to confirm that there is no traffic in the path of the Tow Plow. Always pay attention to traffic prior to and during deployment. Use the mirrors! Explain: It is not required to fully deploy the Tow Plow during operations. Deploy the Tow Plow to ANY desired position. Deployment position is always based on your position on the roadway. Partial deployment may be required due to obstacles. Be aware of the Tow Plow and tow vehicle width while in the tow position. Traffic congestion, stalled vehicles or incidents may block a majority of the lanes available and you may not be able to drive through these situations even in the tow position. Always pay attention to the width of the equipment you are using.

18 Deployment Movie will play automatically.
This gives a simple representation of how the Tow Plow deploys.

19 Low Visibility Always retract the Tow Plow in low visibility conditions Always have plenty of sight distance Give yourself time to react and retract the Tow Plow for: Stalled/stopped vehicles Pedestrians Roadway hazards Obstacles Guard rails, bridge ends and signs When in doubt, pull in the Tow Plow Explain: If operating in low visibility conditions or white outs, ALWAYS retract the Tow Plow and lift the mold board into the tow position. Give yourself plenty of room to react to any traffic conditions ahead of you. If left in the tow position you may not have time to react to obstacles in the roadway. If you are in doubt of the Tow Plow position in relation to obstacles or if visibility has diminished pull the plow in!

20 Steering Use Tow Plow deployment to “steer” while negotiating tight turns Left turns with right hand Tow Plows Right turns with left hand Tow Plows Avoid turns that require you to stop and back up If retracted to tow position during turns, raise the mold board Can be left in deployed position with mold board down and adjusted for obstacles to clear larger intersections Explain: That when the Tow Plow is deployed it will steer the wheels and hydraulic cylinders will pivot the tongue. This may be used to negotiate tight turns. Deployment through turns will allow the Tow Plow to negotiate tight turns. If your Tow Plow deploys to the left it will assist in right hand turns. AVOID backing the Tow Plow. Always become familiar with areas where turning is not possible or allowed. Always show and discuss proper turnaround areas that will be utilized during a storm. Operators may wish to leave the Tow Plow deployed while steering through large intersections (this is possible). Remind the operators to adjust to plow in order to avoid striking any obstacles in the intersection.

21 Steering Through Tight Turns
Movie will play automatically. This movie demonstrates a tight left turn utilizing the Tow Plow steering.

22 Pre-trip Inspection Before each use:
Make sure that all nuts and bolts are in place and properly tightened Make sure that all other fasteners are in place and are performing their specified function Make sure all safety signs are in place, clean, and legible Replace any damaged parts or excessively worn parts Inspect for damage to any part of the plow mold board or push frame Examples include broken or worn bolts or pins, cracked welds, bent sections, and/or excessive rusting Inspect for damage to trip mechanisms, such as broken springs, cracked welds, and worn or broken bolts Check all hoses for cuts, cracks, and leaks Dump air from air brake reservoir to remove any moisture Discuss: The pre-trip inspection will be performed with a checklist during the hands-on session to allow the operators to become familiar with the inspection process and the items to be inspected.

23 Plowing Operations Always try to position the Tow Plow in lanes that keep the plow farthest away from obstacles, such as guardrails, signs, etc. Position the Tow Plow based on type of operation and configuration of the plows Single operation Plow two lanes as best as possible Plow center turn lanes Gang operation Have enough plows to cover shoulder to shoulder Utilize single plow trucks for clearing shoulders and ramps Have single plow run shoulders next to guard rails Explain: There is no set procedures for Tow Plow positions within a gang plow. Depending on the operators experience, type or roadway to be cleared, weather conditions, traffic volume and conditions gang plow positions are typically determined by the operators utilizing best practices that they have determined to be most effective and safe. It is recommended, when possible, depending on the Tow Plow set-up, to place the Tow Plows within the interior lanes (against center divider wall or near median). This allows the Tow Plow operators room to plow keeping away from guard rails etc., on the shoulders. Use “clean-up” plows, such as single plow standard set-up on the shoulders where negotiating obstacles on the shoulder could be easier than with the Tow Plow.

24 Gang Plowing Try to position the crown of the road between the tow vehicle and the Tow Plow For clearing first priority (high volume) routes, operational speeds should be within the following: Safe for conditions present Safe for traffic volume and conditions Reduce spacing appropriately for limited visibility Paced so that multiple gang trucks do not become separated Spaced so that traffic may not pass between the gang plows Explain: When gang plowing, COMMUNICATION is vital for a safe and efficient operation. Have operators in the lead communicate any hazards that may not be seen by the following plows such as, stalled vehicles on the roadway or shoulder. Maintain a safe speed and stay spaced far enough apart for safety, yet not too far allowing traffic to “squeeze” between the plows in an effort to pass the operation. If gang plowing operations are needed, always monitor the traffic behind the gang and determine a safe exit point allowing traffic to clear. In some cases it has been found plowing exit and entrance ramps allows traffic to pass through. The gang plows re-enter the main roadway and have allowed traffic congestion to be relieved. It may not be necessary or feasible to perform this at every exit ramp. If possible, alternate or plow every other ramp and during the next pass plow the alternate ramps. If possible, allow the clean-up trucks to stay on the main roadway to clear the overpass and then catch up to or meet the gang at the on-ramp side.

25 Starting Operations with a Gang
Communication is key Ensure all operators know the procedures to be used Ensure that all operators know their position in the gang Enter traffic at speeds that are safe and allow the gang to stay together This video shows a typical Tow Plow gang setting up operations on an interstate highway. Discuss: Open discussion and explain how your gang plow operation is started.

26 Plowing Operations Plowing heavy snow loads may require adjusting plow / truck position Snow loads may suddenly decrease and allow the plow to skew back to it original position, such as clearing snow under bridges and overpasses Tow may strike guardrail and other roadside devices when it returns to its normal position after the heavy snow load is released Plowing aggregate shoulders Raise mold board 2” to 4” above ground Explain: That the Tow Plow can skew or be pushed in while plowing heavy snow loads. Most obstacle strikes, such as guardrails and bridge abutments, happen due to changes with the weight/volume of snow changing suddenly. A typical scenario that this occurs is while plowing under bridges and overpasses. If the operator has positioned the vehicle and/or corrected the deployment of the Tow Plow to compensate for heavy snow loads and may be well clear of guard rail, curbing signs, etc., plows under an overpass or bridge or has for any reason reduced the load, the Tow Plow will skew or correct itself thus striking roadside obstacles. Discuss: Open discussion about skewing and weight changes to the snow load and areas that this could become an issue for the operator.

27 Emergency Stopping Maintain a safe distance from traffic in front of you The Tow Plow is equipped with ABS braking system Brake as you normally would The procedure for stopping a trailer skid is: Recognize the trailer skid by seeing it in your mirrors Check mirrors anytime you brake hard to make sure the trailer is staying where it should be Once the trailer swings out of your lane it is hard to prevent a jackknife Stop using the brakes to get traction back Do not use the hand brake (this will cause the trailer to continue to skid) Once the wheels start to grip the road again, the trailer will start to straighten out and follow the tow vehicle If the Tow Plow is deployed during a skid, leave in the deployed position Explain: The procedures for emergency braking as shown on this slide. The procedures are from the DOT Manual for Emergency Braking with ABS and Trailers.

28 Lighting There are two groups of lighting on the Tow Plow:
Work/warning Operational (DOT) Tow Plow lighting is connected to the truck via two separate trailer plugs: 7 wire large plug for DOT vehicle lights 6 wire plug for work and warning lights Explain: All lighting must not be damaged and in working condition.

29 Laser Guidance Lasers can be used to determine Tow Plow position in relation to roadside obstacles Can be helpful to determine Tow Plow position when fully extended Mounted to the truck Only represents full Tow Plow extension Explain: Lasers can be purchased and added to the set-up for a Tow Plow. Typically, the laser is mounted to the truck to reduce damage due to vibrations and impacts. The laser is helpful since it “paints” a laser target or “dot” ahead of the vehicle and gives the operator a visual representation of the Tow Plow’s position. Since the laser is mounted from the truck, it represents ONLY FULL EXTENSION of the Tow Plow. Operators must understand that any obstacle within the range of the laser dot will potentially be struck by the Tow Plow if corrections are not made to the Tow Plow position.

30 Tow Plow Inspection Used to assist operator in Tow Plow inspections
Use to pre-trip Can be used for pre-storm inspections

31 Dry-Run Check List Performed pre-season Dry-Run
Allows operator to become familiar with the Tow Plow Identify hazards Identify turnaround points Discuss and plan plowing procedures Explain: The total contact hours (12) required for this course include: • Tow Plow Operator - 8 contact hours - Instructor led class, including hands-on and closed driving course. (LMS24425) • Tow Plow Operator - Assessment - 4 contact hours -Perform a ride along dry-run (pre-winter storm) during good weather in the area that the operator will perform snow removal operations with the Tow Plow. The dry-run will be performed with an experienced Tow Plow operator in order to familiarize new operators to the handling and operational aspects of the Tow Plow, prior to the winter season. The ride along will include proper deployment and operating procedures, along with a checklist of items to be covered during the check ride. Roadside hazard identification, plowing techniques, and turnaround points should be discussed and practiced during this process. (LMS A)

32 Closed Driving Maneuvers
Provides several plowing scenarios including but not limited to Ramps Stalled vehicles Barriers Curves Include additional maneuvers as needed Explain: The participants will be driving a number of scenarios on a closed course. This is a chance for the operators to become familiar with the Tow Plow, its controls and characteristics. Additional scenarios may be added as needed.

33 THANK YOU! Explain: The participants will be driving a number of scenarios on a closed course. This is a chance for the operators to become familiar with the Tow Plow, its controls and characteristics. Additional scenarios may be added as needed.

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