The necessity to stay safe while driving and operating septic trucks should never be taken for granted. Risks to working with septic trucks must be clearly understood as is knowing how to prevent any possible problems by using the right safety measures. One of the more crucial ways to reduce overall risk is to do daily inspections of every truck and its equipment before it is used. Although it may seem repetitive and time-consuming, any effort that helps prevent an accident or malfunction definitely makes it worth time to do a proper inspection.
Daily Safety Inspections
Knowing the right way to use and maintain a septic truck to keep it running and performing properly over time is vital. Regular daily inspections are still important; it is a very good idea to be sure the truck is in the same condition in the morning as it was when it was parked at the end of the previous day. Consider the following parts of the vehicle when doing safety inspections.
- Safety Gear - Before leaving to travel to the first job of the day, inspections should begin by making sure that all necessary protective gear and equipment is available in or on the truck and in good working order. Fire extinguishers should be examined to be sure that they are still fully charged; there should be an ample supply of road flares and necessary emergency signs; and all required safety items must be on the truck. Check personal gear and make certain that everything is in good working order and if anything is missing or inadequate, be sure they are replaced before starting the day's work.
- Pump - Once it has been determined that all necessary equipment and gear is present, the pumps should be inspected. This includes opening traps and shut-off valves to be sure that they are clean and dry, not blocked or frozen inside which could otherwise make that first job of the day a disaster. Look for general signs of wear on and in the pump; check the hoses and be sure that they appear to be in good shape; and examine the truck's tank to look for any obvious damage to the outside. Examine all couplings and seals on pumps and hoses, making sure that they are in good condition without any evidence of excessive wear or leaking issues.
- Truck - Finally, after closely examining the pump and its parts and accessories, it is time to inspect the truck itself. Check for obvious problems such as leaks under the hood as well as underneath the body to look for any evident exhaust or axle issues. Be sure the tires are properly inflated. Start the vehicle and test all lights and signals; listen to the engine for any uncommon sound that might indicate a problem.
A very important thing that every vehicle should always carry are all necessary log books, instruction manuals, and daily inspection reports. Although log books are a part of the job that might seem tedious or something that could wait until later to be completed, filling out logs and forms every day is essential. Accurate records provide a good way to keep track of what work was done on a vehicle and more importantly, it is evidence that the truck was properly inspected and/or cleaned when it was put away after the prior day's work. Rather than having to guess if the tank was washed out, good records will show that it was done and that alone could prevent an accident from happening because different reactive substances were accidentally mixed in the tank.
Once a routine has been established, it shouldn't take very long to go down a checklist before and after use, then clean and park the truck. The extra time involved is minimal compared to the trouble-free use that can come from catching problems while still small enough to be easily resolved. Septic trucks will last longer if the time is taken to perform proper maintenance to detect problems before they become work-stopping issues!