Working in the oil and gas field can be dangerous if not done with the correct measures in place. Kris Poole, health, safety, and environmental director for KRP Rentals & Trucking, has recently started implementing Verizon Connect Reveal in a portion of his fleet, and reflects here on how KRP is actively ensuring its trucks are being driven safely.
The Right Vehicles for the Job
KRP Trucking supplies rental equipment for surface operations of oil and gas drilling sites and transports equipment from one hole to the next when working on rigs. The company owns a total of 47 vehicles, 30 of which are equipped with Verizon Connect Reveal.
Its fleet includes Ford F-350s, Toyota Tundras, Peterbilt and Kenworth flatbed trucks, a Mack hydro-vac truck, and a Peterbilt crane truck. Many of these are pool vehicles that employees will jump into depending on what type of job they have.
“If we’re out in the field and have our equipment on location and need to do some maintenance, our guys will jump in the crane truck, drive it out to the rig location, conduct whatever maintenance that’s necessary, and then drive it back to the yard,” Poole explained.
The company’s electrical service technicians utilize the Ford F-350’s as their service trucks. That way, they can haul heavy trailers but also carry all necessary tools. Its sales personnel use Toyota Tundras because they hold up better on the rough roads of Odessa, Texas, where the company is headquartered.
Implementing GPS Fleet Tracking
The ability to see vehicles in real-time via GPS is vital. According to Poole, Odessa consistently has some of the deadliest roads in the nation due to the amount of heavy oilfield traffic. This can spell danger for drivers.
“To be able to see where our personnel are has been a huge help. We know how long it takes to get to a certain location, and if we see they haven’t made it yet, we’re instantly looking to find where they are to ensure they are safe. We then use that information to be able to contact drilling operations and let them know,” he said.
Before installing fleet tracking software, the company relied on text messages, which were nowhere near as accurate or efficient.
On top of the benefit of fleet tracking helping ensure safety, it has also given the company the ability to route more efficiently. The company frequently travels to remote locations and recently realized they could now locate their vehicles in the Verizon Connect Reveal platform, which was a benefit of the new 4G units.
Accurate location data is essential for KRP because the company often needs to Poole mentioned one of the challenges the company faced when it first started implementing GPS fleet tracking is drivers would sometimes remove the plug-and-play devices.
“It was a learning curve for the individuals. We reiterated we’re not monitoring them to keep them away from eating lunch or anything like that. But it also puts accountability on them to do the right thing,” he explained.
Interestingly enough, one of KRP’s customers now requires GPS data and invoices for service calls.
“They want to verify their invoices match up with our mileage and what we’re charging for,” he said.
When it comes to advice, Poole said you have to implement technology with a different mindset. You cannot be stuck in a “this is how we’ve always done it” mentality. While it may be difficult to adapt to at first, it offers numerous benefits.
“It saves us from having issues that are costly and dangerous, like accidents caused by driving too fast or wear-and-tear like hard braking. As you alert your drivers that these practices have become an issue, after the first year, problems start to diminish because they are aware of what they are doing incorrectly,” he said.
Safely Dealing with Hazardous Materials
The company is currently working on improving its capabilities to clean in its yard using its hydro-vac truck. Naturally, since the equipment it rents to people is used in the oil and gas industry, it deals with hazardous materials. Therefore, it has to dispose of hazardous waste. KRP was paying a third party to come into its facility to clean and haul waste away, so to cut down on costs, they’ve since been looking into using their own hydro-vac trucks.
“I’m currently training all of my personnel in hazardous waste operations and helping them get their certifications for dealing with those kinds of materials. We want to get everything in line before we bring that service online and offer it to our customers,” he said.
Support Breeds Loyalty
Poole got his start in fleet after serving in the Marine Corps for 10 years. He found employment at KRP, and began his journey as a service technician. As clientele increased, the company recognized they needed a formal safety program. With his military-based background, Poole was asked to do the job.
“It’s rare to work for a company that allows the pocketbook to open up a bit to help provide better safety education opportunities. We work for so many different clients that require so many different things, and we have to have it all right. Thankfully, I’ve been allowed to pursue just about every certification under the sun. I absolutely love my job and the company I work for. I’m one of those people that’s proud to represent with the company name on my T-shirt,” he said.