Attention to safety can be great insurance for your pest control company.
Conversely, inattention to safety can have nasty financial impacts to your business. For instance:
- Increased expenses:
- Workers compensation claims/expenses
- Chemical Cleanups
- Medical Bills
- Equipment repairs
- Productivity impacts:
+ Lost productivity
+ Employee turnover
- Customer impacts
- Bad publicity.
This article will focus on pest control (and landscape) vehicle load security.
Unsecured equipment is a risk to:
The driver – flying pest control equipment could injure the driver or interfere with his/her ability to control the vehicle.
Other people on the road – pest equipment flying out of a vehicle going 60 miles an hour will do damage if it hits someone or something. Lawsuit anyone? (see photo below of unsecured gas can)
The equipment – loose equipment causes damage to the equipment itself or other equipment on the vehicle. Our equipment repair shop sees lots of completely avoidable problems caused by unsecured equipment. There are better ways to spend your money. (see photo above of unsecured backpack)
Some key safety points to keep in mind:
1. Just because it is in the truck, you can’t assume it is secure.
2. Just because it was secured five years ago when you installed it, doesn’t mean it is secure today.
3.Equipment that is secure under normal driving conditions at 25 miles, many not be secure in an emergency, such as:
- Hard stops
- Evasive maneuvers to avoid accidents
4. Technicians should check their load BEFORE starting their route. A minute or two spent this way can prevent the problems described above.
5. Small equipment (backpack sprayers, line trimmers, etc.) should be checked by the technician every stop to ensure it is secure.
6. Small equipment should be placed in security racks or otherwise secured. We don’t recommend bungee cords but they are better than nothing. Just cramming stuff together is not securing it.
Store small equipment in security racks
7. Large equipment (power spray rigs, toolboxes, etc.) should be checked periodically.
Tool Box – Tool boxes are usually bolted through the bottom of the tool box to the truck. Inspect for rust, fatigue, or other wear around the bolts. If the material around the bolts is weak, in the event of a crash, the box may break loose.
Spray Rig – Is it securely bolted to the truck? Are bolts intact and nuts tight? Is the correct fastening system being used? For example: stainless steel bolts won’t corrode and nylock nuts won’t vibrate loose. (See photo of unsecured motor mount - they assumed it was attached but it was barely holding on)
Spray Tank - Are tank straps snug and secure, or loose and worn?
8. Checking small equipment should be the tech’s daily responsibility. Checking large equipment should be the company’s responsibility. Use a regular schedule. For example, check the large equipment during the regularly scheduled vehicle oil changes.
9.Supervisors should spot check vehicles to ensure employees are securing their equipment.
We never expect safety problems to occur, but they do.
Be prepared. Conduct these pest control safety inspections periodically to ensure you and your employees are being as safe as possible to protect your business.
UPDATE: An unsecured wheel barrow falling off a work truck caused a fatal accident in Glendale AZ. Read about it here.
For more information on checking your equipment, please download our Preflight Equipment Checklist.