The slogan “safety is everybody’s business” is a common one, but if you’re the business owner, you can also add “the buck stops here” when it comes to shoeing rig safety. If you’re not paying attention to it, who is?

For self-employed farriers, rig safety’s not just a matter of protecting your equipment and preventing downtime for repairs. It also involves reducing the likelihood of career-ending accidents or costly and time-consuming liability lawsuits. An emphasis on safe operations can also be a selling point, inspiring appreciation and loyalty in clients. Making safety an everyday habit starts with looking at how you operate your rig, including maintenance.

According to Roger Newman, an AFA certified farrier and president of SomerSong Forge Trailers in Somerset, Wis., keeping up on rig maintenance is a combination of common sense and using a calendar. 

“Always pay attention to the basic vehicle maintenance needs, such as oil, grease and tires,” he says, adding that it’s also essential to check the running gear equipment periodically. “Keep up on things like electric brakes and brake shoes, bearings and tires, according to manufacturer specifications. I suggest pulling and repacking bearings every year; you can check hubs, spindles and trace bearings and replace as needed.”

This type of basic maintenance not only enhances rig safety, it affects the overall longevity of a rig, reports Lou Sposito, president of Stonewell Bodies of Genoa, N.Y. He also recommends monthly inspection and lubrication of a rig’s latches, slides and hinges. 

“Making sure these areas are free and clear of metal shavings and obstructions can prevent a costly accident. The monthly lubrication using a high-quality penetrating oil not only enhances operation of the units, but also prevents premature wear.”

It’s often tempting to just climb in the truck and get the day started. But it’s a good practice to conduct regular “pre-drive” inspections, including checking to be sure headlights and taillights are all functioning properly, performing a once-over on tires to look for anything that might cause a flat once you’re on the road and measuring air pressure when tires are cold.

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