Safety partitions help prevent driver and passenger injury caused by shifting cargo loads during a crash or sudden stop.
 - Photo courtesy of Ford

Safety partitions help prevent driver and passenger injury caused by shifting cargo loads during a crash or sudden stop.

Photo courtesy of Ford

Ford’s redesigned 2008 E-Series commercial vans offer a Masterack work-bin rack system with full-width safety partition as a no-charge, ship-thru upfit package.

This upfit package ensures everyone — even commercial customers who purchase only one or two units at a time — can get the high-demand upfit right out of a dealer inventory unit without waiting "an extra two or three days," according to Cristi Brown, E-Series marketing manager.

Partitions Add to Van Safety

A perennial leader in commercial trucks, selling 40% of all Class 2 through Class 7 commercial vehicles, Ford has a good fix on the importance of safety partitions.

Ford’s full-width safety partitions provide complete work area visibility from the passenger compartment and help prevent driver and passenger injury caused by shifting cargo loads during a crash or sudden stop.

Such safety partitions, or bulkheads, are extremely strong. Typically constructed of 16-gauge steel, they’re used in fleets as diverse as healthcare and pharmaceutical companies making express deliveries to hospitals, package delivery, and telecommunications equipment firms.

United Parcel Service (UPS), for example, has safety partitions installed in all conventional package delivery vans, according to Heather Robinson, company spokesperson.

The bulkhead door locks automatically and stays locked while the van is in route.

TDS Telecom, Madison, Wis., automatically equips all of its vans (approximately 400) with either a complete shelving and safety partition package or just the partition itself.

"We carry anything from boxes of wire to phone components. By having the partition, it secures the area back there. The key thing is safety. We just don’t want stuff flying around," said Paul Harrison, senior administrator, electronic sourcing and fleet. "In essence, it also gives us a divider between the cab and the back of the vehicle, which helps with the noise."

The divider system also allows turning the front of the cab into a work area.

TDS Telecom keeps its vans an average of five years, 100,000 miles, and has found the bulkhead dividers contribute to the resale/trade-in value of its fleet.

"There are many secondary buyers looking for well-maintained, former fleet utility vehicles already upfitted in a way that’s safe for them and they can slide right into," Harrison said.

Variety of Designs Available

Safety partitions, such as those from Masterack/Crown Inc., Lorain, Ohio, and Knaack Products, Crystal Lake, Ill., manufacturer of Weather Guard, provide security as well as safety. For example, if someone gets into the cab, the divider can prevent access to the cargo area.

Masterack’s dividers, are available in perforated or solid panels and their centers can be a fixed panel or a hinged door with keyed locking handle.

Weather Guard offers solid, sliding and swing-door designs with windowed and screen mesh options. Its solid partitions provide an extra three feet of length-carry capability (total 10 ft.) along the floor for objects up to 9 in. in height, according to Todd Trocki, Knaack, product manager.

The partitions are available on virtually all vans, including minivans, as well as full-size Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet vans, and the Dodge Sprinter Van.

The most convenient time to order a safety partition is at the time of the vehicle’s purchase. But a wide variety of upfitters across the country — from Adrian Steel to Pacific Truck Equipment — can readily provide retrofits for fleets that need to add an upfit as their needs change. 

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