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How to Keep Your Pest Control Fleets & Drivers Safe

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Pest control fleet drivers are at risk for injury and illness from workplace hazards, chemicals, and sprays. The good news is, these risks are top of mind for nearly all of your pest control technicians. The bad news is, most pest control technicians are completely unaware of the biggest risk they face – driving.

If you want to reduce cost of loss, improve efficiency, and protect your people, you need to invest in fleet safety protocols for your pest control technicians.

What Risks Does Driving Present Pest Control Companies?

Pest control technicians are professional drivers. They must drive company vehicles in order to perform essential job functions. The problem is, pest control companies and their employees don’t see it this way.

The pest control fleets we’ve worked with are primarily focused on reducing the types of injuries and illnesses we mentioned above. They focus on hazard communication, slip, trip, and fall reduction, and confined space awareness.

These are all worth your attention, but if you fail to address the risk your pest control professionals face, your profitability and employees will suffer.

Driving is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. That’s not just heavy-duty truck drivers, either. The following statistics account for all forms of professional driving, from delivery to pest control to trucking and everything in between:

  • Over 6,000 professional truck drivers and light-duty vehicle drivers died in accidents last year
  • Per 100,000 professional drivers, there are about 28 fatal accidents
  • As the national safety council points out, a fatal accident will cost your company $1.75M. A minor accident will cost your company nearly $13,000

If you do nothing to prevent driving accidents in your pest control fleet, you’re putting your whole company at risk.

Download 8 Light Duty Training Courses You Can Use For Your Safety Meetings >>>

The Three-Stages of Preventing Vehicular Accidents

When it comes to preventing accidents, pest control companies need to consider a three-pronged approach:

  1. Pre-driving procedures
  2. Defensive driving
  3. Accident response

Safety Starts Before You’re Behind The Wheel

If your pest control technicians aren’t taking proper precautions before leaving company grounds, they’re putting themselves at risk.

Accidents happen when drivers operate vehicles in need of repair or fail to properly secure cargo.

When it comes to making sure your technicians’ vehicles are road-worthy, you need to perform pre-trip inspections. These are not required by law, but they’re still essential. A ten-minute inspection can help prevent vehicle breakdowns and similarly dangerous situations. It’s important your technicians follow a standard procedure. If you don’t have one in place, check out this article for a good place to start.

During vehicle inspections, it’s also important for your pest control technicians to ensure their equipment and cargo are properly secured. As this article from Purdue points out, it’s crucial that your pest control technicians follow these steps before leaving the company yard or a customer location:

  • Clean their vehicle of any trash, debris, or tripping hazards
  • Ensure chemicals and cargo are properly secured with straps or similar equipment
  • Ensure there are no items loosely rolling around the vehicle or cab
  • Properly contain and enclose all chemicals and similar hazardous materials

If you implement procedures for vehicle inspections and cargo securement, you can drastically reduce your pest control fleet’s risk of accidents.

Defensive Driving

Defensive driving is the most important aspect of pest control fleet accident management. As we said earlier, driving is the riskiest thing your employees do. They face the biggest risk of accident or injury while behind the wheel. That means your company faces the biggest risk of cost of loss when they’re behind the wheel, too.

Make sure they’re prepared.

Best-in-class pest control fleets follow this training cycle. It saves them time and money dealing with accidents:

    • Online self-directed training. To see the best results, invest in online professionally-produced defensive driving training. A program like the Fleet Safety Course can be used for new-hire, refresher, and remedial training. You’ll see a reduction in accidents by 20% or more within a year, guaranteed.
  • Behind-the-wheel training. Many companies invest in a program like LLLC Driving Certification. This program teaches your trainers how to better prepare drivers to prevent accidents. This train-the-trainer model offers impactful lessons, workshops, and behind-the-wheel training that results in major reductions to the cost of loss.
  • Monthly safety training. It’s not enough to train your drivers once. You need to keep essential defensive driving topics top of mind for them. Pest control fleets can benefit from a program like The Monthly Safety Initiative, also known as “safety meeting in a box”. With the Monthly Safety Initiative, you receive monthly shipments of everything you need to host a safety meeting on a specific driving or accident prevention topic related to the pest control industry.

Following this training cycle will improve employee engagement, reduce accidents, and save you dollars on the pennies invested.

Post-Accident Procedures

Your time and energy are well-spent on preventing accidents, but you must be prepared for the worst.

Pest control fleets face risk at accident scenes of chemicals leaking or spilling. A proper pre-trip inspection lowers that chance significantly, but your drivers need to know what to do. Here are a few important pieces of information you should share with them:

  • Small spills can be handled directly by your drivers as long as they use proper personal protective equipment. It’s crucial any spill is attended to quickly. It’s illegal to let even a small amount of hazardous materials enter the storm drain.
  • Small spills are best cleaned with kitty litter or similar absorbent material. The material should then be bagged, labeled, and properly disposed of.
  • If a major spill occurs, don’t panic, and don’t handle it yourself. Drivers must contact emergency services and alert the authorities to the exact types of chemicals that have spilled post-accident. 
  • For major spills, if possible, the hazardous material should be contained with a soil or pillow berm to keep out of storm drains and waterways.

Following these procedures can protect drivers and the public from severe injuries. It can also protect your company from severe fines.

Don’t Just Accept Risk. Reduce It.

Pest control fleets are at high risk of driving accidents. You have employees constantly on the move, visiting several or even dozens of customer locations in a day. This exposes you to possible accidents, injuries, and huge amounts of cost of loss.

This risk is not just table stakes. You can reduce this risk with proven and cost-effective methods.

Investing in a standard pre-trip inspection, defensive driving training, and post-accident procedures will reduce accidents and protect your people. 

You’ll spend pennies and save dollars when you invest in reducing accidents.

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