Hydrovac work is dangerous work, and highly knowledgeable and experienced hydrovac professionals understand this. That’s why it’s imperative for these teams to employ a multifaceted approach to hydrovac fleet safety. Ultimately, it’s about risk management—implementing all the necessary components to mitigate known and unexpected risks.
To give you greater insight into the workings of a robust safety plan, here is a snapshot of how Merut Construction systematically addresses risks to ensure fleet and team safety at the highest level.
Vehicle Maintenance Plans & Department
Fundamental to fleet safety is consistent and preventative maintenance for every hydrovac vehicle in the fleet. It all starts with a solid maintenance plan and a department of experts dedicated to managing that plan at every juncture. At Merut, this takes shape with the following efforts:
- Following all recommended maintenance intervals set forth by the manufacturers of specific vehicles and/or assets.
- Looking over any and all vehicles and equipment that return from the field, as well as any set to go out again.
- Undergoing an inspection report by the maintenance department on a quarterly basis, which checks the components of every asset in the company.
- Partnering with local dealers and service providers to ensure everything is repaired to manufacturer specifications.
Vehicle Checks & Inspections
As part of a comprehensive maintenance and safety plan, it is necessary to prioritize vehicle checks and inspections that support a proactive, preventative approach. Merut optimizes this critical responsibility through the use of the company’s ProntoForm system, which enables the team to capture important information with dedicated forms at their fingertips.
These include data pertaining to issues such as the pre-hauling of trailers that might have materials or equipment loaded on them, as well as pre-shift inspections on equipment, including the qualified operator each day. The forms also help our field and maintenance department communicate any breakdowns that may occur in the field so issues can be remedied efficiently and appropriately.
Tracking & Reporting Technology
Technology can be a major contributor to a dynamic hydrovac fleet safety plan. At Merut, we leverage valuable technology to track and run reports on vehicle specifics as well as maintain GPS monitoring. By employing Geotab fleet management solutions from T-Mobile for Business, we’re able to maximize the efficiency and safety of our fleet operation with real-time data and insights into vehicle location, vehicle performance and driver behavior.
This program enables us to monitor the hours, mileage and location of every asset in our fleet. In addition, it allows our heavy-duty vehicles to send engine faults that can be easily diagnosed in house to help determine if a unit requires on-site repairs or needs to go directly to the dealer.
Driver Qualifications & Training
When it comes to ensuring hydrovac fleet safety, having a qualified, trained and knowledgeable team is at the top of the list. Any company that performs hydrovac work should be implementing OSHA 30 and Operator Qualification training for field workers, as well as show proof of meeting the most current levels of safety regulation and compliance. Applying top-notch safety standards and practices requires the dedication of a team that places safety above all else.
Merut is vigorously committed to cultivating a high level of safety, applying dynamic touch points to ensure team members have the qualifications and training to perform the work in the safest way possible. From hydrovac fleet drivers to operators, field workers and supervisors, we have instituted rigorous policies and procedures to maintain a culture of safety.
- Our Heavy Equipment Policy is designed to reduce the risks associated with heavy equipment and machinery on the job by establishing requirements and guidelines for safe operation set forth by OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926.600 and 1926.602.
- Our Safe Driving Policy seeks to safeguard employees and others when driving a motor vehicle to reduce vehicle accidents and injuries by promoting a safe driving culture within the organization. This involves ensuring that authorized employees (meeting the employee responsibilities outlined within the policy) who drive vehicles in the course of their work demonstrate safe, efficient driving skills and other constant road safety habits. It also encompasses maintaining all company vehicles in a safe, clean and roadworthy condition to ensure the maximum safety of drivers, occupants, other road users and pedestrians, and reducing the impacts of the company vehicles on the environment.
- Every hydrovac truck operator MUST carry a Class A or B Commercial Driver License with a tanker endorsement. This designation ensures they are certified to transport bulk quantities of liquids via truck.
- Our Safe Driver Training Videos support the Safe Driving Policy by providing safety knowledge and insight related to basic driving responsibilities as well as those associated with cargo and hauling.
- We have an Asset & Logistics Management Procedure to address the strategic and systematic process of operating, maintaining, improving, monitoring and directing the company’s physical assets (equipment, vehicles, trailers, tools and maintenance kits). This process includes identifying a structured sequence of maintenance, preservation, repair, rehabilitation and replacement actions that achieve and sustain a desired state of good repair over the life cycle of the assets.
- Our Equipment Management Procedure is aimed at ensuring that all company equipment is managed and maintained for proper operation, availability and safety. Equipment Managers manage the acquisition and maintenance of all corporate assets. This involves researching and assisting in purchasing assets, as well as monitoring, scheduling, coordinating and tracking routine maintenance and inspections of all assets and their use on each specific job site. They must maintain a clean and safe work environment; develop and implement a safe and efficient work schedule; abide by and enforce all company policies and procedures; ensure the highest level of workmanship; inspect materials for quality and proper function; report any problems to management; record and report any incidents, accidents or near misses; deal with customers in a courteous and professional manner; and report to administration any paperwork that is required (daily reports, timesheets, incident and accident reporting, etc.).
- Our Confined Space Policies and training are enforced to ensure the safety of all employees and contractors as well as to comply with all regulations pertaining to confined spaces. They include strict standards for designating “competent persons,” or employees who have had the requisite special training and experience to identify existing and predictable hazards, and are granted the authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them. The procedures also establish a process for providing training, evaluating hazards and job performance for specific job tasks, and for working on job tasks whereby OSHA requires the “competent person” designation.
It is critical for any hydrovac team to work with trucks that are adequately stocked with the right TSES (Tools, Supplies, Equipment & Safety) items. Merut employs TSES lists that are specific to each type of company vehicle, showing which items must be present in each. We provide all of the necessary items needed for our employees according to their roles in the company, and twice per year we run a thorough check of all the trucks to make sure they have everything required to get the job done. Additionally, daily requests can be sent in for speciality items, consumables and/or replacements for lost or broken items.
With the various fleet and team areas outlined here, Merut is highly equipped to manage the safety of individuals associated with our hydrovac work. We take this responsibility seriously, understanding the fundamental importance of applying a safety-first approach to every job and sticking to the processes and standards set in place to protect the team, the client and anyone else in harm’s way.
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