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Inspecting a public works truck, and its contents, is a multistep process.

For the vehicle itself, it begins by checking the depth of the tire treads, looking for any leaking fluids, and inspecting mirrors and windshields for damage. Also, brakes, horn, seatbelt, and back-up alarm for vehicles should be inspected regularly.

Turning to the contents of the truck, first consider whether it is used to transport combustibles or flammables. If so, per Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements, the vehicle should be equipped with a 20 B:C fire extinguisher, preferably mounted in a place where workers can get to it easily in case of an emergency. There should always be a first aid kit in the vehicle. All flammables, such as gasoline, need to be in a container, approved by Underwriter Laboratories or the SC Department of Transportation, with a self-closing lid and spark arrestor for quantities over 5 gallons. For containers with a capacity of 5 gallons or less, an approved plastic gas can is appropriate.

All chemicals should be labeled with the contents, and a safety data sheet, or SDS, for all chemicals present on the truck should be included. For every specific chemical on the truck, make sure employees know what personal protective equipment they need to wear in accordance with the SDS requirements, and specifically the emergency procedures in the event of chemical exposure to eyes.

Any tools used for lifting — for example, a floor jack, bottleneck jack, chain and slings — should all have a load rated capacity that is legible. All tools should be inspected prior to use for damage.

All drop cords should have the ground pin on the male end of the cord and there should be no cuts or abrasions to the outer insulation of the drop cord. If there is a nick or cut in the insulation and the user can pull the outer jacket of the cord back over the internal wires, then place a couple of wraps of compression electrical tape and then a couple of wraps of electrical tape on the cord. If an internal copper wire is visible, that cord must be taken out of service. Cut it at the damaged section and add a new replacement end to repair the damaged cord. Be sure to check the polarity with a polarity tester to ensure proper wiring of the replacement end.

All guards should be on the side of grinders and saws and not disengaged or wedged open. If there is a chainsaw on the truck, the truck must also have chaps, a hardhat with full face shield, hearing protection and safety glasses for the operator. All welders should have the terminal lug boots on the welding leads on the welding machine. There can be no cuts in the welding lead within 10 feet of the stinger.

All ladders should be inspected for any cracks or deformations in the fiberglass. Also, they should have the cautions and limitation stickers legible, not faded or damaged.

Remember that all trucks and equipment on the trucks need to be inspected prior to use for any damage. Employees should be trained on how to inspect the equipment, PPE and potential hazards on public works trucks.