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Trailer repair ship’s invention looks to prevent trailer-top tumbles

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Trailer roof repairs are a common practice in truck and trailer yards, but a simple misstep can spell disaster for both the company and the technician. To avoid the injury-related – and, ultimately, legal –...


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Trailer roof repairs are a common practice in truck and trailer yards, but a simple misstep can spell disaster for both the company and the technician. To avoid the injury-related – and, ultimately, legal – ramifications of falls from trailer tops, many companies simply outsource such services, regardless of the simplicity of the repair.

Sousa Truck Trailer Repair had been just such a company, before opting to take matters into its own hands. The Mississauga-based company has created the tentatively titled ‘Mobile Fall Arrest System,’ a safety system designed to prevent falls during trailer repairs. Starting as a few scribbles on the back of a napkin over the Christmas holidays by company president John Sousa, the prototype is now in its seventh incarnation and ready for use by the company.

So, what sets Sousa’s system apart from others like it? Johnathan Sousa, customer service rep for the company and son of the elder Sousa, explains: “Every mobile fall arrest system has three parts: there’s the anchorage part, there’s the lanyard and then there’s the harness.  We’ve developed an anchor that can fit onto the top rail of the trailer so that we can hook up our lanyards to our body harness and be able to do repairs on the trailer. We’ve also attached two wheels onto the top of the anchor so that it can be mobile on top of the trailer so that you can move from repair to repair.”

The mechanism is in line with RR521 (regulations than govern working at heights). The system is also capable of withstanding up to 5,000 lbs of force, divided between the aircraft cable, the anchor, the lanyard and the harness.

Sousa says the company’s mechanics have had the opportunity to test drive the Mobile Fall Arrest System and have given it the thumbs-up from both a safety and ease-of-use standpoint.

“The best thing is that they are comfortable using it. If it’s an inconvenience, then no one’s going to want to go through the trouble of suiting up in it to get on to the trailer,” he told Truck News. “If it takes too much time, then…you’re just charging your customer more and that’s something that you want to avoid.”

While marketing the product to outside repair companies is a possibility down the line, Sousa says that for the near future, the safety system will be limited to the company’s hands.

That said, Sousa notes that he would like to see the product ultimately become the industry standard for trailer repair.  

“We’d like it to be a regulation that you need this mechanism to get on top of a roof,” Sousa says. “We’d just like to eliminate the number of mechanics getting injured on the job as much as we can. There’s no worse thing than someone putting out their life to make money for their family – so we’d like to make it a much easier process for everyone.”

To see the system demonstrated, watch for an episode of TMTV On the Road at www.youtube.com/transportmatters.


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