Housekeeping at the work site is a normal part of the job and it is just as important for every vehicle used during the work day. This includes fleet vehicles, short- or long-term car rentals, and personal or leased vehicles, if they are used for on-the-job activities.
OSHA may consider any motor vehicle as a work environment when a worker is using the vehicle for work-related activities including driving between work locations, transporting materials, running errands, visiting clients and making deliveries.
Keeping your vehicle clean, organized and maintained is beneficial and
- keeps the driver and passengers safe.
- saves time when items are easily found.
- makes it easy when space is already available for passengers, materials, tools and equipment.
- projects a positive image for the employee and the company.
OSHA Standard 1904.5(b)(1) OSHA defines the work environment as "the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. The work environment includes not only physical locations, but also the equipment or materials used by the employee during the course of his or her work."
If a vehicle used for work becomes cluttered and full of trash, debris, material or equipment it can become hazardous to the worker and affect the safety of everyone on the road.
Free moving materials may roll or fly into the vehicle floorboard and become caught under pedals causing drivers to lose control of the vehicle.
Clutter can become a distraction to the driver when liquids spill or trash falls onto the floor and any distraction while driving can be deadly.
- Store all items away from the main sitting area of the vehicle or make sure they are secure.
- Remove items from under the vehicle seats, especially items that can roll like water bottles.
- Clear folders, tools, beverage containers or any other items from dashboards.
- Clean mud or snow off shoes before operating the vehicle.
- Clean up spills and throw away trash promptly.
- If you become distracted by a spill or item that has fallen in the vehicle, pull over and stop in a safe area before you tend to it.
- Keep the vehicle you are using clean and maintained.
If not stored and secured properly, ladders, materials and equipment has the potential to slide off the vehicle while traveling down a roadway resulting in hazardous conditions for other drivers.
Keep all items, including ladders, that are in a truck bed, or on the roof rack, tied down to ensure they do not become dislodged while driving.
Never place long materials such as pipes, poles or rods through windows or openings into the main cab of a vehicle. Workers could become impaled by these objects and serious injury can occur.
Materials that extend past the vehicle’s tailgate or rear bumper should be marked and flagged to alert other drivers of the large load you are hauling.
Ensure lids are closed on any open containers in the bed of your truck to prevent objects flying out and striking other vehicles on the roadway.
Inspect vehicles frequently by checking:
- that headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are all working
- the tires for cracks, nails/screws, gouges, worn down treads, balding, or low tire pressure
- to ensure that windshield wipers are in good working condition and wiper fluid is maintained
- the windows and windshields for cracks, chips, dirt and grime that can affect visibility
- the mirrors for dirt, smudges or damage that could obstruct the view of the driver
Clean windows and mirrors often to maintain optimal visibility. Consider keeping a window cleaner in your vehicle stored safely and readily accessible to use when needed. Create a habit of always cleaning the windshield when refueling.
- Store material in an orderly manner to keep the vehicle clean and organized.
- Separate tools, equipment, and supplies into bins, shelves, or compartments to make it easier find what is needed to complete the task.
- Secure all loose items.
- Avoid piling objects too high, inside or outside of the vehicle, to ensure the driver can always see clearly.