Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, is an essential part of keeping tow truck drivers safe on the job. Your drivers have to be equipped with the gear they need to stay safe when they’re out there working on the side of the road. PPE is so important that OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Association) has guidelines for what employers have to provide to keep their employees safe. You’ve got to make sure you’re following all relevant OSHA guidelines at your business.
Here’s some of the PPE your drivers might need for the various adventures they encounter as tow truck operators.
PPE for tow truck drivers.
1. High-visibility clothing.
Each year, many tow truck operators are struck by cars as they work on the side of the road. It’s a sad, tragic reality of the towing world. To help your drivers stay safe as they work, they need to be visible, and that requires having high-visibility clothing so that the cars flying by on the road can see them. Make sure your drivers have the right high-visibility clothing for the job.
2. Foot protection – i.e. steel-toed boots.
Foot injuries are one of the most common injuries among tow truck drivers. It’s important that your drivers have the right footwear to protect their feet while they’re on the job. Steel-toed boots can help your tow truck drivers avoid squishing their feet if they accidentally bump their foot or trip. Let stubbed toes become a thing of the past. Besides, your drivers can also have boots that provide extra traction during the winter to help them avoid slips and falls in icy weather.
There are plenty of reasons to wear a safety helmet. First of all, they protect the noggin against falling objects by absorbing the impact. Second, they cushion the head if your driver wipes out and takes a fall. Third, they can provide extra visibility because they’re often in very fashionable reflective colors. Fourth, they’ll shield the head if the driver bumps it on something.
Hard hats might not be necessary for every single job, but they need to be on-hand and ready to go if your drivers need them.
Gloves are an essential part of PPE for tow truck drivers because they protect the hands against burns, cuts, scrapes, and so on. Tow truck drivers encounter hazardous chemicals on the job sometimes – for example, at a wreck – and proper work gloves can protect their hands from chemical burns and thermal burns. Also, tow chains and wire rope are part of the job, and these things can be really rough on the hands. Gloves can help protect the driver from injury.
Tow truck drivers should also have proper eye protection. Debris, dust, dirt, rocks, and hazardous materials are all risks that could seriously damage the eyes. Regular glasses or sunglasses aren’t enough – tow truck drivers need real protective eyewear. The eyes are extremely sensitive. And tow truck drivers often have to get under vehicles, where debris from the road can easily make its way into the eyes.
6. Cold weather/Hot weather gear.
In the extreme seasons, your drivers need to be properly dressed.
Tow truck drivers will need cold weather gear that will keep them nice and warm and protect against things like frostbite and hypothermia. They’ll need gloves, boots that will help give them traction on slippery ground, headwear, and jackets and outerwear that will help them stay warm. Winter often brings snow, freezing temperatures, sleet, wind, and rain, so it’s important that your drivers have the right clothes to wear.
In the summer, tow truck drivers will need clothing that will keep them cool. They’ll need clothing that breathes so that they don’t get overheated, and they should try to avoid wearing dark-colored clothes, which absorb heat. The trick is to help the body cool itself off by letting heat escape. Otherwise, your drivers could be at the risk of heat-related illnesses, which can be very serious. Working outside in the summer can be hazardous, especially if you’re in a part of the country that gets very hot.
Well, maybe this isn’t strictly PPE, but still – flashlights can be very helpful for your drivers. Not only can they help them see if they have to work in the dark, but they can help drivers and others see the tow truck operator. You can even consider body lights or lanterns to help your drivers be more visible.
8. Cell phone.
Okay, again – perhaps not strictly PPE, but good for emergencies. If there’s ever a time that your drivers have to call for help, it’s important that they have a charged-up cell phone that’s ready to go. Being able to summon emergency personnel if an accident or incident happens is vital.
When your drivers head out on the job, it’s important that they have the gear they need to stay safe. You don’t want to see a driver get hurt on the job. Make sure everyone is suited up and ready to go.
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