If you’ve ever had an employee stranded on a dark desert highway in their work truck, chances are your vehicles now require many, if not all, of the items on this list. For small business owners and fleet managers who’ve never experienced trying to change a tire – without a flashlight – in a torrential downpour – on a roadside shoulder exactly half the width of a smart car – this list is for you. Here we’ll cover the safety items every fleet should carry.
1. Fire Extinguisher
If this weren’t important for work vehicles, it would not be the first requirement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. According to FEMA, one out of every eight fires responded to by emergency departments across the nation is a highway vehicle fire. An average of one person a day loses their life due to a highway vehicle fire. And almost half of these fires are caused by mechanical failures like leaking fuel lines. Don’t run the risk of your employees becoming a statistic. Fire extinguishers are inexpensive and easy to find. Every vehicle in your fleet, from services vehicles to sales vehicles, should be equipped with one.
2. Tool Kit/Flashlight
This one seems obvious, but is often overlooked. Most drivers can relate to not having the right tool for the situation at one time or another. But your fleet vehicles or work trucks should never be without the essentials. A crescent wrench, screwdriver, and adjustable pliers will get your guys a lot closer to the next job than their bare hands.
3. Extra Fluids
If one of your work vehicles suffers a catastrophic engine failure in a remote location, not a whole lot can be done. But, if a warning light comes on for low oil pressure or coolant level, having an extra quart of oil or gallon of antifreeze/coolant just might allow your employee to finish out the day before bringing the vehicle in for service.
4. Navigation System/Road Atlas
Even if your fleet vehicles aren’t equipped with a GPS tracking system and/or onboard navigation system, it’s likely that your drivers use a navigation app on their cell phone. Even so, phone batteries die and navigation systems fail. It’s best to have a back-up plan in the form of a city map or a road atlas for every truck or car in your fleet.
5. Jumper Cables/Jump Starter
Jumper cables are great when there are other drivers nearby who are willing to lend a helping hand. But what about a dead battery on that dark desert highway we mentioned earlier? There are now lithium-ion powered jump starters that can provide up to 80 jumpstarts with only one charge. Some models offer built-in extras like LED flashlights/warning lights and USB ports to charge a cell phone or laptop.
6. Flares/Reflective Triangles/Reflective Vests
These items are critical for employees or drivers attending to a vehicle on the roadside. In 2017 alone, the United States experienced nearly 2,000 fatalities that occurred off the roadway on the shoulder or median. Make sure your emergency roadside kits contain these items.
7. Food/Water/Change of Clothes
If driving conditions are bad or if your workers are spending a great deal of time in rural or remote areas, they will be glad they have food, water, and a change of clothes. There are a myriad of situations that could cause a driver to be stranded. Taking every precaution is just good business sense for you and your employees.
8. Personal Protective Equipment/Spill Response Kits
If your work trucks carry any hazardous materials (i.e. pesticides, fuels, caustics, etc.), it is essential that your fleet is adhering to all local and national transportation safety laws. Personal protective equipment and a spill response kit is definitely a must-have item in case of an accident or mechanical failure resulting in a hazardous material spill.
Adding these items to your work trucks may just help to protect your bottom line while keeping your employees safe and operational in the field.