To reduce the need for accessing your work van and minimize the risk of a back injury your work van should prioritize tools.
The first step for van upfitting is to make an itemized list of the tools that are repeatedly used. Next, situate those items close to the doors for easy accessibility from outside the van.
Another key safety concern that has been very problematic for cargo van drivers is the accessibility and use of ladders. Ladders are an invaluable tool in your arsenal. Unfortunately roof ladders increases the risk to your employees’ shoulders and backs while retrieving heavy pieces of equipment.
One solution we commonly recommend during van fitting is adding drop-down ladder racks.
By establishing the ladders that need to be carried first, and by considering the vehicle being used, we can suggest the best ladder storage options for your custom van upfitting.
In order to build the most ergonomically friendly work vehicle interiors, it is essential for you as the utility fleet manager to research available options and consult with your drivers on their specific needs. Also collaborating with us early in the process can limit upfitment time and improve the entire process.
However, what happens after the vehicles have been upfitted and driver feedback is still less than ideal? This is maybe the most important step for a fleet manager. Driver instruction is a vital part of the process of upfitting vehicles for enhanced ergonomics and efficiency.
When the work vehicles are first delivered you should lead a walk-around and set aside time for training your drivers. Explain why a shelf is located in a specific place and recommend that frequently used items be positioned near the door. Finally, demonstrate how to safely load and unload ladders. Proper driver training is key to getting the most out of your fleet’s upfit investment.
And make no mistake, it is an investment. You as a fleet manager will invest significant time and money upfront to create a work environment that suits employees.
When van upfits and employee training are properly executed, the utility’s return on investment will include greater driver satisfaction, increased productivity and more satisfied customers.