Shop Safety Awareness

There are many potential hazards within a maintenance operation that can cause injury, and there are real, and costly, consequences for working unsafely. A safe work environment is a combination of both the work area and the workers themselves. Here...

Tri-State Drilling lives by the phrase “Safety First,” and this is promoted through weekly safety meetings in small groups and a yearly safety meeting for the whole company. Employees are rewarded with incentives for practicing and promoting safety, and for safety suggestions that get adopted into company practices.

Because the company believes communication is one of the keys to safety, it mails a note, titled FYI, to all employees anytime there is an incident, possible incident or new safety suggestion. The intent is to keep everyone informed.


Transportation Services, Santee Cooper, Moncks Corner, SC

Submitted by Richard Winter, fleet manager

Key things done in its shops to create a safe work environment include the use of:

- Steering wheel covers with lockout/tagout devices.

- Wheel chocks for all trucks and heavy equipment.

- Spotters when backing out of the work bays to ensure no one has parked behind a vehicle and the way is clear of traffic and people.

- Portable safety steps instead of climbing on a vehicle’s wheels.

In addition, shop technicians are issued PPE and are required to use these appropriately. Technicians also complete monthly shop safety inspections.


Swift Shop Operations, Swift Transportation, Phoenix, AZ  

Submitted by Jeff Harris, director of shop training operations and compliance

Swift Transportation strives to be best in class for a transportation company and this includes top-notch safety efforts for everyone. In Shop Operations, technician safety is the number one concern and management uses a wide variety of measures to keep technicians safe in the workplace.

One of the most effective is the incorporation of a Six Sigma system that maps out shop organization at each of the operations’ facilities. A great safety record cannot take place without a well-organized shop.

Six Sigma is a business management strategy that uses statistical methods to identify defects and improve performance.

The Six Sigma initiative has also been incorporated into specific staging areas for tools, mops and buckets, trash, workbenches, computer stands, technician toolboxes, off-part staging, new part staging, jacks/jack stands, A/C machines and fluid containment equipment.

By way of example: Tools are kept on shadow boards located between shop bays. Tools are labeled on the board and the boards are categorized to specific jobs, such as wheel end/differential seals, brake boards and special tool boards. The boards, which are mobile, are strategically placed throughout its shops.

Swift Transportation has built and administers its own web-based safety courses through its internal learning website. Training programs cover lockout/tagout, hazard communication training, forklift operator certification, spill prevention control and counter-measures, safe welding/cutting practices and much more. There are safety videos on a large number of topics, including forklift safety, hearing conservation, safe work methods and slips, trips and falls.

Technicians are required to wear safety glasses and steel toe work boots within all shop facilities. As an incentive, safety lunches are provided for shops that achieve no time lost incidences for each quarter.


Seminole County Solid Waste Division, Sanford, FL

Submitted by Ed Kapalka, equipment coordinator

Before working on any vehicle, technicians always open the driver’s door window. This is done to prevent accidental lockouts because, all too often, a spare key is not readily available.

            Technicians always remove the key from the ignition and do not let anyone, especially the vehicle’s driver, sit in the cab. Someone may start the engine without realizing a technician is working on the vehicle and that could cause that person serious harm.

These may seem like small matters, but these suggestions can save a lot of time, money, injuries and all kinds of issues.


Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), Indianapolis, IN

Submitted by Shan M. Sturgeon, maintenance department

One of many simple things RNDC does to keep it vehicles, technicians and drivers safe is to regularly wash its equipment. Not only does regular washing remove contaminants which can impact a vehicle’s appearance and condition, its makes vehicles safer to work on.

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