Vehicle inspections are one of those things we know we should be doing on a regular basis. However, many of us treat these inspections as optional to be done when we feel inclined. This is not the case for commercial vehicles. The demands placed on these vehicles or any vehicles that are used to access the more remotes areas on BC’s resource roads are greatly increased. Changing road conditions and surfaces along with long running times puts a high degree of mechanical stress on these work vehicles. Consequently, to increase the life span of your vehicle and enjoy a safe driving experience a series of checks and inspections needs to be conducted before you leave, while you are driving, and at end of your shift.
When conducting a pre-trip inspection on a commercial vehicle some things to look for are any defects that may make the vehicle unfit for purpose as well as making sure that the vehicle is outfitted with all necessary supplies such as emergency supplies and chains. Checking fluid levels, lights, and tire pressure should be part of this routine as well. Lastly, a written record of all inspections should be kept and stored safely in the vehicle for easy access for maintenance crews and inspectors.
Once on the road, the driver should continue to make ongoing assessments of the vehicle’s performance. Listen for any unusual engine sounds, be aware of any changes to the steering, watch for unusual vibrations or shaking and for any warning lights that appear. These changes should be inspected and addressed before proceeding further in order to advert any potential dangerous or unwanted situations to the vehicle, to yourself, or to the company in the form of prolonged down times.
In addition to the above, another series of inspections should be completed when exiting or re-entering the highway. When leaving the highway it is important to make sure that communication channels are operational, your load is secure, all adjustments to tires have been made, and your daytime running lights are on.
The same checks regarding the load and the tires need to be completed when re-entering the highway. Additionally, this is the time to make sure that all lights, windows and mirrors are clean and that license plates are visible. As well, check that the wheels, brakes and mudflats are clear of any debris that may have been picked up on forest roads.
Once you complete your trip, a final inspection must be done. A post-trip inspection needs to be performed to make sure the vehicle is safe and able to handle the rigours of the next day. During this inspection, you are looking for any obvious faults or issues with the vehicle. As with the pre-trip inspection, a written record of the findings is required so that the maintenance crew can address any issues or defects.
While all of these inspections and checks may seem excessive, they are essential. Pre-trip and post-trip inspections along with on-going assessments of the vehicle while driving serve many purposes. They prolong the life of the vehicle. They help to ensure the safety of the driver and any who may share the road with them, and they have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line, as they help to reduce prolonged down times and production losses — a situation where everyone wins.
Check out the original FULL article in the June 2020 Forest Safety News on pages 14-15.