COMMENTARY: Auction safety is a partnership between auctions & customers


Safety is front and center at today’s brick-and-mortar auctions — and with good cause. The reason we have such a laser focus on safety is, in my opinion, a micro versus a macro view of this very important issue.

The tragedy at the East Coast auction was horrendous, given the relatively safe environment that has moved millions of vehicles across the block nationwide from the inception of the first auctions decades ago.

Having reviewed the NAAA’s pending guidelines, I see them as a stepping stone that will assist in bringing attention to this issue.  And I say guidelines because I see mandates as counterproductive with such a diverse structural layouts and operational flows at our NAAA auctions. Driver safety classes and pre-sale announcements will enhance attention on sale day and hopefully reduce accidents.

Let’s keep in mind that auctions have always been “dealer-friendly,” and today’s auction operators are creating unique technologically advanced blocks and inserting exposure area bollards to protect their employees and customers. 

But each auction needs to make its own changes to its own facility and mitigate its own exposure and liability in ways that make operational sense. 

Recommendations are always appreciated and mandates are not always the solution to complicated issues. With simulcast and other tools, the paperless block with texted and/or emailed invoices is coming, thus less dealers crossing from one side of the arena to the other to sign their invoices.

Areas can be created for ring-men and buyers to stand that negates the need for them to stand in front or behind vehicles while bidding.  Safety lanes can be installed along with bollards to prevent runaway units from wreaking havoc, and again just their presence highlights the need for safety.

Run-number stickers can be placed on units to be scanned only in an area of a vehicle that does not require you to stand between units or on the narrower side where the block is located. Simply put, let’s not make safety as cumbersome, complicated and frustrating as arbitration is and allow each auction to look at their operational flow and make its own decisions on what they feel optimizes safety for their customers and their staff. 

 As I stated above, safety is a PARTNERSHIP between buyers, sellers and auction staff, where they ALL mutually see the benefit in any changes made on their behalf and for their safety. 

We started by taking another hard look at our areas of exposure and creating what we think helps as reflected in the images inserted into this editorial. 

As always just one man’s opinion.



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