Sunday, May 15, 2016

Role of the swamper at Columbia Ice

In the summer I hire a driver and because I am nice I hire a swamper to save my ice delivery driver's legs.  It is the climbing up and down the back of the truck to get the ice, fighting the effects of that darn gravity which tire a student out.  The swamper at Columbia Ice does the following:

1.  Help load the truck in the morning.  This means getting up on the truck and spinning pallets with the help of the driver, getting our ice delivery truck rutabaga, ready to hit the road.  Labor law in Alberta says I can only ask you to lift 40 pounds at a time and pulling a fully loaded pallet across ridged floor on the reefer when you spin requires more than 40 pounds of force.  This means you check your DNA that says I must do it alone at the door.  

2. Make sure the truck has water and ice.  Sanitize the water cooler every time you plan on opening the lid.  Soak for ten minutes in sanitizer for ten minutes, rinse with hot water.

3. Verifying the driver has the invoice book, both have wallets and delivery list from driver which you are responsible for.

3.  Fill in the blanks of the delivery list which is kept on a clipboard in the truck.  You will have to hand these in at the end of each day.   

4.  Pass ice to the driver from the back of the truck and then closing the back of the reefer to keep the cold in.

5.  Open sleeve of ice for the driver using a safe knife.  Swamper should be there holding the sleeve waiting for the driver to load the freezer.  

6.  When the driver says how many bags, you go fill in the blanks in the invoice book, while the driver cleans area up.  You meet driver in parking lot, hand book to driver, and you put cart on back, tidy up any garbage.  You must and I mean verify the back door of the truck is closed.  

7.  The swamper is responsible for keeping the back and front of truck tidy.  That means no garbage, no drinks, ice or debris anywhere on the truck.  

8.  At the end of the day the swamper helps the driver unload any ice left over, sweep the truck, clean the front, is a witness to the end of day drop.  Two people on a pallet jack for full pallets.  

9.  Assist others in end of day cleaning or bagger cleaning.  You leave when everybody but I leave.  Your job is done when their job is done so pitch in.   

10.  Help with navigation and be supportive emotionally with the driver.  A cab forward with a sail called a tall box feels the wind often pushing you to one side or another a foot at a time.  It bounces on bumps and you can easily shift a load on a turn or accelerator. I have driven rutabaga for five years and it still stresses me out.  I don't care if you like each other, I care that you make it home safe, with ice delivered and truck in one piece.  I put your safety first.  This means you don't start arguments or conversations that stress out the nut job behind the wheel:). Oh yes it is certainly possible an ice delivery driver could have a bad day where you make it worse and end up trying to go under the high level bridge giving the ice deliver truck a sunroof.  It is also possible that a bad day can be averted by a swamper smart enough to realize their life depends on the person behind the wheel being focused on driving.

Good luck, the rest, well you will learn as you go.

Master Iceman

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