Commercial vans are becoming more popular and, frankly, we aren’t surprised. Vans are convenient, prevent theft, include more advertising space, and are weatherproof. With such strong benefits, it makes sense many savvy mobile service companies are swapping their service trucks for vans.
But that doesn’t mean every piece of truck equipment is suitable for a commercial van. Most mobile work tools and equipment were built for trucks and only trucks. Many manufacturers simply haven’t considered the unique strengths and challenges created by vans, and it shows in their products.
In most cases, upfitters do their best to modify equipment designed for work trucks so it works on commercial vans. Unfortunately, this can have dangerous consequences.
Air Compressors For Commercial Vans
Mobile air compressors are an excellent example of equipment made for trucks that aren’t always safe for vans. Depending on how they are installed, air compressors in commercial vans can:
- Expose operators to concentrated toxic fumes
- Result in heavy-lifting injuries
- Cause falls by forcing workers to stand on precarious surfaces
- Make the van explode
…Yes, that’s right. Air compressors installed too close to fabrics or other flammable materials inside a commercial van can catch on fire and cause the vehicle to explode. It’s an extremely rare occurrence, but you really don’t want to be the person who experiences it.
Fortunately, all the accidents listed above are preventable with the right air compressor system—one that doesn’t simply stick a truck’s air compressor in the cargo area. Instead, you need an air compressor that was made just for vans.
For example, VMAC has developed an air compressor for service vans that is installed in the engine compartment, away from the operator and cargo. This eliminates the risk of toxic fumes, fires, explosions, heavy lifting injuries, and falls, all in one go. You can see this UNDERHOOD™ air compressor in action on the Cullen Diesel van:
Protect Your Profits With Employee Safety
Now we’ll take a step back and talk about why keeping employees safe and using the right air compressor is simply good business. Even if safety isn’t a priority for your business, you probably care about your profits.
Job site injuries caused by air compressors or other equipment can quickly become the single most costly line item for any business. Injuries themselves cost money to fix but the expenses don’t end there. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revealed that job site accidents have significant indirect costs that most businesses don’t account for.
Let’s look at the direct and indirect costs of a few injuries, according to OSHA:
|Injury||Direct Cost||Indirect Cost||Total Cost|
Yikes, that’s pricey! I think we can all agree that we don’t want to pay the direct or indirect costs for any of those injuries. But what exactly is an indirect cost?
Common indirect costs are:
- Filing a Worker’s Compensation claim
- Lost days of productivity
- Legal costs
- Hiring and training a replacement worker
- Repairing damaged property
- Accident investigation and corrective action implementation
- Insurance maintenance
Less obvious indirect costs include:
- Schedule delays
- Added administrative time
- Decreased morale
- Increased absenteeism
- Poorer customer relations
- Hits to company reputation
- Ability to bid on future jobs
When we look at the costs and impacts of an injury, it’s apparent that allowing health and safety issues to occur is bad business. It’s expensive and unnecessary.
Even worse it’s entirely preventable. One of the simplest ways to protect your business is to choose equipment, including air compressors, that is built for the vehicle you’re operating—van or otherwise.
Investing in the right equipment for your van will help keep your people safe and avoid wasting your profits. Everybody wins!