Tip Top Shop

Most refuse truck maintenance shop owners comply with federal, state and local safety and environmental regulations - when they know about them. There are numerous acts, regulations and agencies that apply to truck maintenance facilities, and it's not always easy to find out about them or to understand them. This can make compliance difficult.

In surveys, most maintenance managers indicate that staying abreast of vehicle technology is their top challenge and concern, followed by compliance with governmental regulations.

However, compliance looms larger in the event of an "incident."

Where can a shop manager turn for guidance? Following are some available resources to turn to for help.

Outside Help A leading source for safety and transportation regulatory information and auditing is J.J. Keller and Associates Inc., Neehah, Wis. The company offers thorough manuals covering federal regulations on most subjects. For example, the welding section of the vehicle maintenance manual covers safety equipment, signage, welding fumes, warning labels, chemical storage and cylinders, and containers.

"EnviroMotivator" from Environmental Development Corp. (EDC), Findlay, Ohio, is another resource. This 50-page manual covers employee and community right-to-know issues, battery handling and disposal, and more. In a section on the rules for motor vehicle maintenance operations and refueling operations, there are highlights of regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Washington, D.C.

EDC also publishes a 420-page "S h o p /E n v i r o n m e n t a l /E P A Compliance Guide" and a 320-page "Shop Safety/OSHA Compliance Guide."

Industry associations are additional outside resources. They frequently hold seminars and publish information on regulations.

For example, Stuart Flatlow, director of the occupational safety and health safety department at the American Trucking Associations, Alexandria, Va., suggests shop managers implement an extensive employee training program covering areas such as hazardous materials, fire protection, personal protective equipment (PPE) and toxic sub-stances. [See "Training Program Tips" on page 72].

He also suggests periodic inspections of tools and machines, receiving and storage areas, building conditions, and electrical, lighting, heating and ventilation systems. [See "Inspection Ready or Not" above].

Help on the Inside Some solid waste companies have all-inclusive safety and environmental programs, including a separate department to advise and monitor the shop.

Another company that has a separate department is Ryder Transportation Services, Miami. Frank Spingola, manager, says the company has an extensive employee safety and health standards and procedures program in place.

Ryder's manual covers several topics. The hazardous energy section defines hazardous energy, explains related regulations and lists the equipment necessary to control hazardous energy safely. Shop management responsibilities, required employee training and annual inspection procedures also are included.

Other manual sections include wheel/rim maintenance, fall prevention and protection, and PPE. The purpose of the PPE program is to protect employees, contractors and Ryder facility visitors from eye, face, head, hand and foot injuries.

Companies looking to stay abreast of the regulations should consider similar guides to make sure their employees and facilities are in compliance.

Stuart Flatlow, director of the occupational safety and health safety department at the American Trucking Associations, Alexandria, Va., suggests shops implement an extensive employee training program, including the following categories:

1. Emergency escape plans;

2. Operations, care and use of vehicle-mounted platforms and manlifts;

3. Noise exposure;

4. Installation, inspection and maintenance of ventilation systems;

5. Storing and handling of hazardous materials, including flammable and combustible liquids;

6. General requirements, use and maintenance of personal protective equipment (PPE);

7. Lockout/tagout procedures;

8. First aid procedures;

9. Machinery operations and maintenance;

10. General requirements for welding, cutting and brazing;

11. Electrical safety; and

12. Procedures regarding toxic and hazardous substances, including asbestos, bloodborne pathogens and hazard communication.

Periodic inspections of the maintenance shop will help ensure facilities are up to par during regulatory inspections. Stuart Flatlow, director of the occupational safety and health safety department at the American Trucking Associations, Alexandria, Va., suggests periodic inspections and maintenance in these areas:

1. The receiving and storage area, including equipment, job planning, layout, floor loads and projection of materials;

2. Building conditions, including floors, walls, ceilings, exits, stairs, walkways, ramps, platforms, driveways and aisles;

3. Housekeeping, including waste disposal, tools, objects, materials, leakage and spillage, schedules and work areas;

4. Electrical systems, including equipment switches, breakers, switchboards, junctions, insulation, extension tools, motors, grounding, power strips, code compliance and hidden or damaged cords;

5. Lighting systems, including type, effectiveness, controls diffusion, location and glare;

6. Heating and ventilation systems, including type, effectiveness, temperature, humidity, supply and exhaust;

7. Chemicals, including storage, handling, transportation, amounts used, disposal, spill handling, warning signs, supervision, personal protective equipment (PPE) and purchasing standards;

8. Maintenance, including regularity, effectiveness, training, materials and equipment, and lock-out machinery;

9. Machines, including points of operation, fly wheels, gears, pulleys, lighting, emergency stops, maintenance, attachments, work space, energy sources and guards;

10. Hand and power tools, including repair, type, maintenance, use, handling and storage;

11. Fire prevention, including extinguishers, alarms, sprinklers, exits, ignition sources, fire drills, explosion proof fixtures and PPE;

12. Personal protection of employees, including first aid kits, eye and body wash areas, PPE, and safe work practices;

14. Written programs and records, including hazard communication, lockout/tagout, emergency action and fire response, respiratory protection, bloodborne pathogens, employee training, hazard assessment, injury and illness, and exposure assessments.

For more information about any of the programs mentioned, contact the following organizations.

American Trucking Associations (ATA) Alexandria, Va.

Phone: (703) 838-1905


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Washington, D.C.

Phone: (202) 260-2090


Environmental Development Corp. (EDC) Findlay, Ohio

Phone: (419) 422-1200


J.J. Keller and Associates Inc. Neehah, Wis. Toll-free phone: (800) 558-5011


Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Washington, D.C.

Phone: (202) 219-5000