Safety starts at the top at Haycock Petroleum Company of Las Vegas. Management's number-one concern there is creating a safe working environment for its 100 drivers, who are responsible for loading and delivering a variety of petroleum products to customers throughout Nevada and Utah.

Doug Hyer, vp of operations, says being a hazmat driver requires special skills and acute attention to detail. “Our drivers are all very well trained. When they go to the terminal to load up their tankers, there is a choice of six different kinds of gasoline and four different kinds of diesel fuel; they must select and deliver the right product for each location.”

Fuel is loaded onto the trucks from a pipeline or one of five refineries in the Salt Lake area of Utah. In Nevada it is loaded from either a rail terminal in the northern part of the state or from pipelines in Reno and Las Vegas.

Customers include retail locations, like gas stations and convenience stores, scattered throughout Utah and the Las Vegas region. Haycock also delivers fuel products to mining sites in northern Nevada, as well as to the Kennecott Utah Copper mines.

In addition, Haycock is a major supplier of fuel to the construction industry, which is currently going very strong in Las Vegas and Southern Utah. Propane [used for heating] is another large portion of the company's business.

Haycock Petroleum Co. is made up of two corporations that merged in January, 2001: Haycock, founded in Las Vegas in 1955 by Clair Haycock; and Jardine Petroleum, formed in Clarkston, Utah, in 1936 by John Jardine. The company's primary business today is distribution of wholesale fuels, lubricants, propane and specialized fuels like biodiesel. In Nevada, the company also has a Mobile Lube Services Division that provides onsite fueling services for customers.

“We have a significant amount of heavy equipment capable of hauling large-sized loads of petroleum products,” Hyer reports. “Our supertankers haul up to 129,000-lb. payload, which is the maximum allowable weight in both Nevada and Utah.”

Haycock currently has 73 tractor-trailers, 30 of which are leased units from PacLease. The equipment includes 26 Kenworth, 15 Peterbilt, 11 International, 11 Ford and 11 GMC power units. Most of the tanker trailers are from Beall. According to Hyer, the tractor-trailer combination units can carry up to 12,500 gallons of diesel and over 14,000 gallons of gasoline.

“One of the things we've done to save money is switch to super single Michelin X-One tires with pressurized axle systems that keep the tires inflated to the proper pressure at all times,” Hyer points out. “By doing this we've been able to lower the center of gravity in the trailers, which makes them more stable and reduces the potential for roll-overs. We're also getting more fuel on each load since each axle is 250 lb. lighter than the one it replaced.”

Hyer notes that the pumping systems on the tractors have also become more efficient since they put in a new valve system that allows drivers to control the flow of fuel, including being able to reverse the flow if for some reason the tank starts to overflow. He explains that this capability makes it much safer to transfer the flammable products.

“We have great working relationships with our suppliers, like PacLease and Beall, who make sure we get our equipment spec'd the best for our operations. With the PacLease agreement, we've chosen to handle maintenance ourselves. It's more economical for us to do it this way since many of the customers to whom we supply lubricants also provide us with equipment maintenance in return.”