On average, the United States loses more than 4,500 workers to fatal on-the-job accidents each year. Nearly half of those fatalities, according to the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), are the result of
The petroleum equipment industry is extremely mobile.
Traveling from warehouses to job sites and back again is commonplace. Nearly every member of PEI has a “fleet” of some
kind, with company vehicles that can range from small cars to
large cargo trucks. Those realities make the issue of fleet and
driver safety especially important in our industry.
Every company would like to have a strong safe-driving
record. But how do you make it happen? Four keys seem to be
paramount: preventive maintenance, driver training, vehicle
tracking and driver rewards.
Before It Breaks
Preventive maintenance is at the top of the list for Ryan Riley,
director of service for San Jose-based Service Station Systems
Inc., which has a fleet of 48 vehicles.
“Preventive maintenance is commonly overlooked,” he says,
adding that Service Station Systems has fostered service relationships with consistent local vendors that allow the company to
address potential problems before they happen.
“We have developed a service maintenance item list that
depends on the odometer,” he notes, “and we use the same
service guys so we can track what is done to each vehicle. That
lets us anticipate and address what will happen by the odometer,
instead of waiting for something to break and then reacting and
“So every 5,000 miles, the vehicles get an oil change. Every
10,000 miles, they also get a new air filter. Every 15,000 miles,
the transmission is serviced,” Riley explains.
Austin-based Tanknology, Inc., with a 150-vehicle fleet, places
an equally strong emphasis on maintenance. “We’re nationwide;
so out of necessity, we do a lot of driving,” says Brad Hoffman,
vice president of engineering at the company. “We have mostly
one-ton-chassis vehicles that are between 10,000 and 15,000 lbs.
But we have a variety of different body styles on the back of the
trucks. That includes several service- and utility-style bodies and
some cargo bodies.”
Hoffman notes that Tanknology belongs to a nationwide
group that monitors vehicle wear and allows employees to service
their vehicles locally.
“We use a network of service providers for vehicle mainte-
nance. The network allows us to go to any local shop to get main-
tenance done, and all of it gets billed back to the national office,”
he adds. “Being part of the group allows us to keep a breakdown
of maintenance requirements such as oil changes, tire rotations,
brake inspections and transmission maintenance.”
Daily inspections by Tanknology employees before the trucks
are put in service also can prevent accidents.
“The daily inspection will identify anything that needs
routine maintenance,” says Hoffman. “Some items require the