It’s not always easy teaching someone else something that you already know how to do. Something that has become second nature. When hiring new drivers for snow and ice management, what’s your system for teaching them the skills to salt an area correctly? Here’s what some PlowSite.com members had to say.
Jguck25: How do you guys teach new drivers how to salt and how much to salt? I’ve been having a problem with this for a while now. I have two drivers that know how to plow and plow every storm for me, but they have never had to salt because I do all the salting. Short of driving around with them and showing exactly what settings to put the sander on for each place, how do you do it? I just know in my head by looking at what is coming out of the sander how much is needed depending on the snowpack and temps, but how do you guys teach that? The last few years, I have never been able to go on snowmobiling trips in case of the freak salt-only storm (I won’t leave if it’s more than that). How do you tell someone how much salt to apply? Sand is easy because you can see it.
JustJeff: It’s not rocket science. Tell them to salt and sit around for 20 minutes to see how well it worked and what they missed. Can they see the spread from where they sit in the truck?
Iceyman: For the first couple of salt runs, have them complete the route then go back to each place in order to see the progress of their application. They can spot salt from there.
Philbilly2: Funny how what seems so easy to you can be so complex to explain and grasp to others. Let them go and do, as these guys have said. They will figure it out. If nothing else, tell them to over-salt before they under-salt. It may cost you a bit more in salt the first few runs ’til they get it, but that is the life of the business owner.
allagashpm: Have them ride along with you and explain it. Write something up so they can reference it for lots that may require more or less, or specific areas that are higher traffic, etc.
It isn’t rocket science, I agree, but getting them to salt without wasting a ton of product, or increasing your liability by under-salting, will take time. Hand the reins over to them for a couple lots and then go back with them like others have said to see how they did. Experience is the best teacher, and they won’t learn without it.
John_DeereGreen: We’ve got a chart we came up with. Set spinner at X and auger at Y and drive Z mph. It varies based on temperature, snow depth, snow consistency and property. If I were starting from scratch, I would probably figure out a close average. Say auger at 4, spinner at 9 and drive 10 mph or 5 mph. Whatever will give you good results. Salting is something that really takes time in the seat to know how much to apply under given circumstances. We’ve got a couple guys that are good and most of the time will tell the others the settings and speed, and it will be about perfect.
Hysert: Salting is all seat time, watching and knowledge of your sites in my opinion. For example, a site with a lane way that doesn’t get much sun will need to be pounded a lot more than the open areas exposed to sun. And in spots like that, I will pre-wet. Again, all of this is temperature related as well.
rebert: Let them pre-salt a few times and they will be able to see how much material is really coming out on different settings.
On a Call: Pre-salting is the way, I agree. Then they see what they missed, hit it and learn how to do it right.
Brian Young: We just do what John_DeereGreen does, a simple overhead drawing of the property that shows even the direction to drive, make loops, etc., and spinner is set on 6 to 7 and drive just under 10 mph and don’t touch the feed gate! I’m sure we all waste salt here and there, and I understand it’s kind of nerve-racking, but just simply go over the lots and check on them after the first few times out.
Ramairfreak99ss: It is tricky; no one spreader is the same, and no truck is the same. Chain VBX vs. auger drives are vastly different, and spinners are vastly different. I’ve found it best to have guys do a ride-along, explain every detail of what you’re doing, and note the sound of the spreader if possible, do you hear salt pinging off things? If not, widen the spread faster or make sure it’s actually coming out. Usually then I’ll get out and do a sidewalk while I let them do the parking lot themselves while I observe the work outside the truck and determine where I should correct them. More salt up here, less over here, double-pass this area just in case, etc.