The world of the mobile professional can often be dangerous, and concern for safety has increasingly become vital. Fortunately for the mobile tradesman or fleet manager, the products available to upfit a service vehicle have never been better. These products have been specially designed and engineered to protect the vehicle’s occupants and improve daily working conditions.
The growing trend in commercial van upfitting is to upfit vehicles for enhanced safety and productivity. For operators and fleet managers alike, the focus is to closely consider products that will provide both an element of increased safety and deliver an ergonomic benefit that will last for the life of the vehicle.
To meet this new demand for additional ergonomically designed safety equipment, owners and fleet managers are turning to aftermarket suppliers to find the latest in safety partitions, ladder racks, sliding access trays, grab handles, and bumper steps. The ultimate goal of these safety-focused upfits is to reduce injury and insurance claims and improve overall operator efficiency.
WHY ERGONOMICS MATTERS
The study of ergonomics—as it relates to the mobile professional—is all about understanding what an operator/tradesman goes through while performing their daily tasks. Specifically, it’s about knowing how many times they load and unload a ladder, how and where within a vehicle their most used tools and equipment are stored, how this equipment is accessed, and how they climb into and out of the vehicle.
Once there is a firm understanding of these repetitive tasks, one can begin to select the right ergonomically designed products that can provide the most benefit. Products designed with ergonomics in mind will help reduce lost time and/or litigation due to injuries that can result from pushing, pulling, lifting, bending, crouching, or crawling on hands and knees, as well as climbing into and out of a vehicle.
FOR FLEET MANAGERS
For the fleet manager who must upfit more than one vehicle, the one-size-fits-all approach is not effective. It is important to choose van upfit products that can be flexible to suit a diverse workforce that performs different tasks. Ergonomically designed safety products can adjust to fit the different size and reach of various operators. For example:
- Safety partitions that allow for full seat travel and have a clear panel that allows better visibility for drivers of different sizes
- Ladder racks that lower down the side of the vehicle, lowering enough for the shortest worker
- Trays and drawers that can support heavy loads and that have a full range of extension, allowing easier access to their contents
- Adjustable shelving that lets each driver reach comfortably to reduce injury and strain
Van equipment that is chosen without regard for good design and ergonomics is a key contributor to preventable accidents and injury. On the other hand, upfitting a vehicle with ergonomically designed equipment can dramatically improve user productivity while substantially reducing the risk of injury or accidents.
THE SAFETY PARTITION
Undoubtedly, the single most important safety upfit to any commercial cargo van is a safety partition. It’s been proven time and again to protect cab occupants from unsecured cargo in the event of an accident. The ability of a safety partition to stop flying objects from hitting an occupant in the cab area is obvious. But, a well-designed safety barrier that has ergonomics in mind also takes into account things like:
- Full seat travel to accommodate different size drivers
- Better climate control
- In the case of the latest clear-top style safety partitions, greater rear visibility and a greater sense of open space
LADDER RACK SAFETY
Many of the most popular cargo vans today are high-roofed models. The only way to safely load and unload a heavy ladder from such models is with a drop down ladder rack. One example is Ranger Design’s Max Rack drop down ladder rack, which reduces risk of back or muscle injury. The Max Rack keeps operators out of harm’s way while loaded or unloaded, while the gas shock assisted mechanism allows for easy, one person operation and can be raised or lowered (up to 50 inches) in one single motion.
SLIDING TRAYS & DRAWERS
Sliding trays and tool drawers provide increased safety by keeping tools and equipment secure, while providing technicians easy access to their most used parts and equipment from the ground, thus avoiding the crawling and straining that can cause injury.
Many smaller accessories can also make a difference when it comes to safety. Additional grab handles make it easier to climb into a vehicle or support oneself while moving equipment around. A well-positioned bumper step can reduce the distance from the ground to the van floor and take some stress off knees when climbing into or out of a van.
Both tradesmen and fleet managers can maximize their safety and return on investment with carefully chosen upfit equipment that has been designed with ergonomics in mind. These safety-related products can work to protect occupants and workers while delivering additional ergonomic benefits that can help reduce injury, lost time, and insurance claims.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Find out more on the latest ergonomically designed safety equipment for your commercial vehicle, call 800.565.5321 or visit www.rangerdesign.com.
MODERN WORKTRUCK SOLUTIONS: OCTOBER 2016 ISSUE
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