TMC – the American Trucking Associations Technology & Maintenance Council recently published a recommended practice titled Service and Utility Truck Body Safety Features – RP 1432. TMC has published more than 350 recommended practices on a variety of topics.
TMC primarily represents truck fleets, and through its various member task forces, develops recommended practices that may be used by fleet managers to specify and maintain vehicles. The service and utility body practice (RP 1432) was developed by TMC’s Light- & Medium-Duty/Specialty Trucks Task Force. According to TMC, this RP “Provides guidelines for safety- and ergonomic-related features used on service and utility truck bodies.”
RP 1432 addresses a variety of areas. Examples of some of the main topics are: (a) areas that address protecting personnel (e.g., electrical insulation, exhaust discharge placement, lead-acid battery ventilation, load beds, backup alarms and cameras, and equipment storage and cargo securement), (b) specified designs regarding steps and standing/walking surfaces, and (c) work benches, access handrails or handholds, stabilizer controls, and safety sign characteristics. TMC states RP 1432 does not cover the safety features of cranes, elevating platforms or other specialty equipment that may be installed.
AISBM is publishing this notice to make you aware of RP 1432 and the potential challenges you may face in trying to comply with this recommended practice. The biggest concern with RP 1432 is that it takes a broad “one-size fits all” approach to service and utility bodies. This approach is at odds with (1) the wide range of bodies and applications that fall into this category (from very small pickup box removals to very large utility trucks), (2) the multiple variations of body and equipment combinations in this category, and (3) the varied services provided by this category of bodies. Therefore, it may not make sense — or even be possible — to follow all the recommended practices of RP 1432 for a particular body.
In such a situation, you should understand that RP 1432 is a voluntary guideline, not a legal requirement. So, while a body is required to comply with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations — for example, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Canada’s Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards — a body does not have to comply with RP 1432.
However, you also should understand that if you end up in a lawsuit regarding a service or utility body, and the body does not comply with RP 1432, you may have increased liability exposure. Therefore, if a vehicle does not comply with RP 1432, you need to be confident that the areas of noncompliance do not pose safety risks, and you should retain supporting documentation for this position in your customer file. In addition, you should discuss with your customers such areas of noncompliance and document such discussions in the customer’s file.
TMC recommended practices are proprietary to TMC (purchase here). For questions on TMC RP 1432, we recommend you contact TMC directly.