Operating a small heating oil and fuel company means that your employees must routinely handle volatile fuels, such as liquid propane and home heating oils. While it is likely that your employees underwent specific training to keep them safe when working with these products, the owners of the homes and businesses that receive deliveries from your company did not and this lack of knowledge can create hazardous conditions for your delivery drivers and service personnel. If you are the owner of a heating oil and fuel company who would like to help ensure that your employees will be safe when making deliveries or answering service calls, the following tips can help.
Recognize Potential Hazards
Customers in need of heating fuel or oil deliveries may not realize that they have conditions at their home or business that are not safe for your delivery driver. These might include
- vicious dogs or other animals that are loose in the area where the delivery driver will be working
- parked vehicles or any type of obstacle that will make positioning the fuel truck difficult
- site issues, such as poor drainage, trees, vegetation, depressions in the ground, or extremely rough or rocky ground that could cause the truck to become stuck or damaged
- overhead wires or low hanging limbs that could interfere with or damage the truck or hoses
Authorize Employees to Refuse Delivery
If your delivery driver or service personnel encounters hazards of this type when attempting to deliver oil or fuel to a home or business, consider instituting the following three-step action plan to help them stay safe.
- As soon as the problem is noted, authorize your employee to stop the attempt and notify their supervisor of the problem.
- Document the issue by noting the customer file and then using a mobile phone to take pictures of the issues that present a threat to your employee's safety.
- Attempt to reach the customer to rectify the situation immediately, if possible. If this is not an option, employees should be given the right to refuse delivery until the customer can provide proof that the safety hazard has been resolved.
Provide Information to Educate Customers
Since most customers will be happy to keep their deliveries on schedule by eliminating any condition that makes it unsafe for your employees, it can be very helpful to educate them about potential issues on a frequent basis. A monthly or quarterly email or snail mail newsletter, in addition to posting safety information on your company website, can educate your customers and help keep your employees safe. For more ideas, talk to a fellow company, such as Small & Sons Oil Dist Co.