Certification of commercial tire service workers is a long-discussed concept whose time has come. Thus the International Tire and Rubber Association, which next year plans to have a program for training and certifying the competence of such workers, deserves credit for finally turning a good idea into reality.
Installing and servicing commercial truck tires can behazardous work-particularly when performed by poorly trained or careless workers.
Moreover, practices such as shoddy tire repairing and haphazard treatment of tire-wheel assemblies not only can threaten the safety of service workers themselves, but also that of tire users and the public at large.
Certifying the knowledge and abilities of commercial tire service workers, much as technician skills are certified in the automotive repair industry, will reduce deaths and injuries due to improper service practices. It also will permit conscientious service outlets to demonstrate their professionalism to commercial accounts.
Many fleets mistakenly parcel out their business solely based on price. Still others demand unsafe tire repairs from dealers and other service providers.
Certification will help dealers convince customers of the importance of doing service work properly rather than merely getting it done as cheaply as possible.
The ITRA is preparing a service manual as the centerpiece of its effort to train, certify and periodically re-certify commercial service personnel as a means of reducing tire-related accidents and raising the professional status of such workers industrywide.
The association, in 1997, plans to offer this training through a series of day-long seminars, whose sessions will be repeated on more than one day at each regional location so attendees can participate without forcing their employers to close up shop.
The ITRA's training and certification programs will be made available to members and non-members alike. Commercial tire dealers owe it to themselves to support and participate in this worthwhile effort.
It's time dealers and the industry at large got serious about protecting the safety of tire service workers.