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Safety saves you money

July 20, 2012 -  By

By: Andrew Greess

A few minutes ensuring safety up front is a lot cheaper than downtime, repairs, chemical spills and lawsuits. Use this Green Industry equipment safety checklist to avoid problems down the road:

  • Is your equipment secured? Check hand sprayers, backpack sprayers, ladders and other equipment to make sure it will not go flying in an emergency (such as in an accident, sudden stops, avoidance maneuvers, etc.). Check the hose reel to ensure it’s locked to prevent hose from unrolling down the road.
  • Is visibility good? Does equipment or truck design make it difficult to see behind the vehicle or in blind spots? If so, adjust equipment — or consider supplementing side view mirrors to give the driver better visibility.
  • Is everything properly attached? Check toolbox, water tank and power spray rig to make sure they are securely fastened to the vehicle. Materials wear out, rust, fatigue, stretch, etc. Bolts come loose. Just because it’s in your truck, don’t assume it is attached — check to be sure. You don’t want these components flying out of the truck in an emergency.
  • Is your personal protective equipment (PPE) in good shape? Inspect PPE so you have it when you need it (see photo). Check to make sure:
    • It’s there.
    • It’s uncontaminated.
    • It’s not expired.
  • Is the vehicle load stable? Load stability is becoming a bigger concern as landscaping firms switch to smaller vehicles and technicians have more distractions (such as texting). Ensure the vehicle is not overloaded, and that any load is properly balanced. Pay particular attention to the power sprayer water tank, which can often be the largest portion of the load. Make sure the tank is sized appropriately to the vehicle. Consider tank baffles to reduce the water surge that can have an impact on vehicle control and stability.
  • Is it sharp, hot or otherwise dangerous? Do a quick check of your equipment and load for hazards that could injure the technician, including:
    • sharp
    • hot
    • moving (engine belt)
    • rough or rusted
    • overhanging the vehicle (bump hazard)
  • Are you at risk for a chemical spill? Check your equipment to identify potential areas for chemical leaks and spills. Heat, cold, hard use, abuse and time all take their toll on equipment. Check hoses, fittings, valves and clamps for signs of excessive wear. A cheap fitting that cracks can cause an expensive problem. Water anywhere it is not supposed to be is a problem and should be dealt with promptly.
  • Last, but not least: Is there chemical buildup? Chemical buildup can occur in the vehicle over time. This can create an exposure hazard for the technician. Keep the truck clean to protect the technician and project a professional image to the public. Places to check for chemical buildup include:
    • hand sprayers and backpacks
    • water tank
    • spray hose
    • truck bed.

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LM Staff

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