The Field Service Vehicle Safety GuideBy My Service Depot on Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Simple safety precautions can keep techs protected and extend the lifespan of your service vehicles.
This article will cover company vehicles in the field service industry, focusing on how to operate them in a safe manner and reviewing some pointers on general upkeep. After all, you want your vehicles to serve your company (and your customers!) for as long as possible.
Ever since Henry Ford started mass-producing automobiles, companies have used them to ferry their employees from job to job, customer to customer. As automobile technology improved, so did the service radius and efficiency of employees in various field service trades. Companies gained the ability to service several locales at once, even taking trips out to rural customers or to neighboring counties. Nowadays, service companies can easily service clients within 100 miles of them the same day, something unheard of a century ago.
Types of Company Vehicle
There are many different types of company vehicles, but for most field service businesses, they fall into these four categories: vans, trucks, cars, or trailers. For vans, popular models include the Ford E-series and Transit, Chevrolet Express, Mercedes Sprinter, and RAM ProMaster.
For trucks, popular models include the Ford F-series, RAM 1500, Ford Super Duty, and Toyota Tacoma.
Work cars vary a bit more, since these usually conform to the tastes of the salespeople or executives driving them.
Since every business is different, the needs of every business will be different. Your company might only need to use vans or trucks, while some only need cars. Many may need all four vehicles in some capacity. Regardless of the vehicle, safe operation will always remain a priority.
COVID-19 Vehicle Safety
For businesses, safe vehicle operation has always been a top priority. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, this has become even more complex (especially if your techs share/rotate vehicles). As a COVID consideration, begin your day by wiping down all common touch surfaces such as door handles, buttons, dials, seatbelt clips, etc. with an EPA-approved disinfecting wipe. If your vehicle contains any tools, you should wipe those down as well.
If you travel alone, then you do not need to wear a mask, but OSHA still recommends that you keep the windows cracked open in order to increase airflow within the vehicle. If you travel with a partner or a group of people, you should absolutely consider wearing a mask and at least cracking all your windows.
Safe Vehicle Operation
Now that you have prepared your vehicle for use and have done your best to protect yourself from COVID-19, you can start driving to your first service call of the day. The key to safely operating any vehicle is to ensure that you use it properly. Like any tool, you’ll want to make sure that you have the proper settings or configurations to prevent accidents. This includes following the speed limit or watching out for pedestrians.
To start, make sure your sideview and rearview mirrors are adjusted properly. Set sideview mirrors should in such a way that you only need to turn your head towards them to see out of them (you should not be able to see your own vehicle in the sideview mirror while doing so). Similarly, a properly adjusted rearview mirror should be set in such a way that you need not turn your head at all in order to look out of it properly, and it should not be obstructed by any headrest or item (note that this is impossible in some service vans that have a wall between the cab and bed).
Take a quick walk around your vehicle before starting operation to ensure that no objects or persons block the vehicle, and to visually inspect the vehicle for any kind of damage, such as flat tires, scratches, dents, or broken lights. Make sure that you and all of your passengers have their seatbelts on before starting the vehicle. Furthermore, ensure that all of your items, parts, and tools are secured properly so as to prevent damage during transit.
Once you hit the road, make sure that you follow all of the posted signs, especially the speed limit. Doing so keeps you safe and keeps your business chugging!