RGV Mechanic Gives Safety Precautions While Under Cars

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SAN CARLOS – Rio Grande Valley law enforcement is advising the public use precautions when working with heavy equipment.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reported Monday a San Carlos man died while trying to secure a tarp over a trailer loaded with hay. Investigators said the jack holding the trailer gave out and crushed the man, killing him.

The Hidalgo county Sheriff’s Office said it’s important to follow safety measures that could save lives, whether it’s a tire replacement, a quick adjustment underneath a trailer or a full reparation requiring someone to lift their vehicle.

Mechanic Arnulfo Rodriguez said he’s followed strict safety procedures throughout his career.

“I used to do all kinds of mechanic work. The first thing I always do is – because safety is the main thing,” he said.

Rodriguez said he’s always prepared for potential risks.  

“Whenever you’re by yourself, you have to secure that vehicle very good because if not something could happen. It could fall on you,” he said.

The sheriff’s office said they believe the man had a small jack propping up the trailer.

Although a jack is a good starting point, Rodriguez said it’s not the only safety measure people need to take before stepping underneath a heavy unit.

“Sometimes those jacks could flip and the vehicle could fall. Always use jack stands because safety is a priority,” he said.  

Rodriguez said the jack stand serves as a backup in case the jack gives out. He said there’s also a test you can do to ensure everything is in place.

“Secure the vehicle first… We always move the vehicle a little bit and see if it’s very steady. Now, you can go underneath the vehicle and work,” he explained.

Rodriguez urged people who don’t have the proper equipment to avoid risking their life no matter how simple or quick the repair may be.

He said people have no business underneath a car without the proper equipment. Instead, Rodriguez said a professional with the proper gear should take care of the job.

He said the extra safety measures may take more time, but the small inconvenience may also save a life.

Rodriguez added people should make sure the jack can hold the weight of the unit. He said it shouldn’t exceed the jack’s lifting capacity.

When positioning the jack, Rodriguez said people should place it at the right lifting point. He said this will avoid damage to their car and will ensure the jack will work correctly.

He urged people to avoid going underneath the vehicle until the unit has been properly lowered to rest on the jack stand. 

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