Our story– John Oltrogge, the inventor of the Cable Dominator saw the need for a safe and efficient way to un-cable railcars after the tragic death of his co-worker.
The height he fell from was no more than 14ft, but it was enough to take his life.
The man was known to be an experienced, safety-conscious warehouseman. He had climbed the ladder attached to the back of the railcar and was working his way down the center beam, stopping to un-cable as he went. At some point, he lost his footing and fell to his death.
An outside consulting firm, and the Province of Alberta Department of Labour investigated the incident. Both reports concluded they could find nothing unusual with the circumstances surrounding the incident.
John Oltrogge owned (owns) a profitable decking business in Denver, Colorado but sales during the summer of 1997 were sharply down, so that winter he worked for his supplier. Most days he drove truck, delivering lumber to job sites, but he was also a trained forklift operator so he would often help off load as well.
John and everyone else knew how spooky it was to walk a center beam, it took skill, even in good weather but was downright crazy when there was ice.
The men at the yard hated the new safety mandates
Work was halted as the yard crew waited for new safety instructions from corporate. Everyone knew things had to change. Even so, the new guidelines weren’t received well. John and others who knew the yard, immediately saw how inefficient it was going to be to work under those guidelines. Management was going to have an constant battle making them stick.
If no one has to go up top then no one can fall
John saw the problem in more practical terms, so he worked to solve the core issue (sending a man up in the air) rather than just throwing patches on top of more patches, he envisioned a forklift attachment performing the cable release in the same motion a cupped hand scoops the chain.
Finding Funding was not as hard as he thought it would be
At a family dinner John shared the story of the death at the company and told his experiences of working on top of a railcar. To his surprise he learned that his own family history was full of work related injuries and way too many fatal accidents. The family immediately expressed a desire to support the cost of the prototypes and offered whatever help was needed to bring a “safety solution” to market.
In 1999 a name was chosen and “Safety Solutions Inc.” was incorporated. U.S. and Canadian patents followed, for the Cable Dominator, “a safe and effective method to un-cable centerbeam railcars”. True to their promise the family contributed all of the resources and considerable energy to bringing John’s safety device to market.
Dian@cabledominator.com (a family member) is well know in the industry as an advocate for safety. If your company has a desire to make their lumberyard safer, don’t hesitate to call her, she cares and will help your company stop the dangerous practice of sending workers to the top of railcars.
• One Employee
• UN-hooks three cables at a time
• No one climbs