Fleet Speak: Safety & Fleet Working in Tandem

By Reid Altavilla, Corporate Fleet Manager

Our fleet and safety teams are a partnership. We need to have our eyes on both things in order to keep our vehicles and equipment in the best working order and our people safe. This synchronicity is no accident (pun intended). Both teams work together regularly to ensure that all production vehicles are Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant, all equipment is operating at the highest level of quality every time they leave the yard and that all employees understand how to safely operate both vehicles and equipment.

Pictured right: New grab handle and steel ladder (instead of aluminum) on the rear of trucks help individuals safely climb in and out of the truck bed.

Here are a few tasks that are performed daily, weekly, monthly or yearly to ensure the highest possible safety standards for our fleet and equipment:


  • Performing annual DOT inspections as well as surprise A.M. gate inspections as vehicles leave the yard, filling out DOT Annual Preventative Maintenance forms and filing them in the truck and vehicle maintenance file
  • Inspecting daily pre-trip forms to make sure that all individuals are performing a proper pre-trip inspection (the previous three months of the form are saved for each vehicle)
  • Installing and repairing DriveCams in all production vehicles as needed
  • Making sure that all vehicles are properly loaded (not overloaded or loaded incorrectly) to ensure that our vehicles and crew, as well as the public, are as safe as possible
  • Performing regularly scheduled repairs with the highest quality in all of our shops to safeguard the operation of our fleet and uphold our image
  • Inspecting the housekeeping of vehicles to maintain a safe environment:
    • No papers or trash on the dash; floors clean and free of debris
    • Equipment properly secured
  • Continuously improving our fleet design to decrease potential injuries, maximize efficiency, and minimize theft of our equipment.

New heavy-duty locking devices for cargo trailers help eliminate potential equipment theft (new lock pictured on right side, old lock on left side). Rear door cables are replaced with lower door hinge springs to reduce potential finger, hand and back injuries.


  • Working with crews during pad maintenance (preventative maintenance for mowing and two-cycle equipment) to ensure that all equipment is performing properly:
    • Inspecting and repairing all safety guards and Operator Present Controls (OPC) on equipment
    • Inspecting and repairing all seat belts and Rollover Protection (ROP) on riding mowers
    • Providing tips for proper operation with the end-user and discussing abuse when necessary
    • Helping the manufacturer produce a safer product through redesign or labeling. (For example, the new Exmark Standon safety decal to indicate a pinch point.)
  • Participating in operator training to help company personnel understand how to maintain and operate equipment in a safe manner

Our fleet department understands its role in helping to keep our vehicles and equipment in safe operating order. Safety is a partnership and everyone at Ruppert plays a critical role in ensuring safety is top of mind. Please help us continue to improve by following the “see something, say something” motto when it comes to protecting you and your co-workers and getting them home safely every day.