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My analysis on lessons learned riding with technicians – Part II

My analysis on lessons learned riding with technicians – Part II
By Austin M. Frishman, Ph.D.

Below is Part II in my series of lessons learned from riding along with technicians. As with Part I, you should use this list to help develop a detailed on-the-job training guide, and expand it to cover other items that are more specific to your company practices. You can view Part I here.

  • Vehicle maintenance may not be a priority for some technicians. They might keep extra chemicals in their trucks, including older materials that have not been used for a few years. They might even be keeping a pressurized container in their trucks during the hot summer season, which can be dangerous. Make sure you are inspecting your company’s vehicles on a routine basis to avoid these issues.
  • Protocols aren’t always in place for perimeter treatments. Before beginning a routine perimeter treatment, technicians may not check for open windows, or for toys and pet dishes that need to be removed. They could also be missing the necessary tools to prevent a hose catching on flowers or shrubbery around the corners of buildings. Sit down with your technicians to develop a checklist of items if one doesn’t exist already.
  • Some technicians never received training on spill control. They may have a spill kit in their vehicle, but they might not know what to do with it. The answer they have generally given me is “dump the absorbent on the spill,” but surrounding it first is the correct answer.
  • Technicians might not be paying close attention to detail. A service slip could include notes about using or not using a particular type of product, but a technician would never know if they didn’t read it in full. In another situation, a housekeeper could let a technician into the wrong house, and they never double checked the slip to see if they had the correct address. Encourage your technicians to be thorough in their work, no matter what the job is.
  • They could be using the wrong calibrations without realizing it. For example, technicians could carefully measure out what they need for a one-gallon sprayer, but refill it another one or two times throughout the day when the sprayer is still half full, ending up with a higher-than-allowed concentration of finished material. Training technicians on these tips once they are first hired could alleviate these issues down the road.
  • Technicians may not be cognizant of their clothing habits. Worn-out sneakers, thick leather wrist bands and even uniforms can readily absorb some chemicals. Additionally, many technicians don’t wear a safety belt. Uniforms should always be washed separately from other clothes and treated with a fabric protector to reduce the potential for absorption.

These items are the most common issues I have encountered over the years with many technicians across many companies. The purpose of this two-part article is not to criticize, but to point out the importance of proper training and quality control follow-up by riding with a service technician on a regular basis.

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