Food Truck Safety

Food Truck and Cart Safety Guidelines

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Fire
Fires in a well maintained Mobile Food Cart are certainly rare but can happen. It is suggested that a fire extinguisher be kept on hand for such an event. Keep equipment clean and grease free to prevent such an event. Always follow the manufacturers guidelines for food preparation equipment especially griddles and deep fryers.

The other area of concern is that of clothing catching fire. This may occur if an operator gets too close to hot burners with polyester clothing. This can cause the clothing material to melt or ignite and possibly burn the person. For this reason a proper approved butcher’s apron of fire resistant material should always be worn. Clothing should be kept clean and free of accumulated oil and grease.

First Aid
Always keep a small first aid kit in the trailer to treat the inevitable small burns, nicks, cuts and abrasions that will occur. It should include some disinfectant and an assortment of various sized “Band-Aids”. Check the first aid kit regularly and restock it with needed items.

Towing the Trailer
Always check that the trailer’s trailer hitch is pushed all the way down and fully locked onto the ball. Make sure that the ball is the correct size for the hitch as a hitch will connect to an undersized ball but it may disconnect during towing. Always connect the safety chains between the trailer and the tow vehicle. If you have the detachable tongue option on the trailer, double check that it is properly re-installed before towing.

Connect the electrical wires and check that signal and brake lights are functioning properly.

Remove the wheel chocks and raise the corner jacks before driving away. Make sure all items on the trailer are fully secured and ready for transport before towing.

Check the tires for proper inflation pressure as a partially deflated tire can fail at highway speeds causing you to lose control.

Routine Maintenance
A Mobile Food vendor must be maintain their unit in top condition at all times. If not, the owner/operator risks being unable to do business and thereby losing money.

Inspect the trailer daily in the same manner as a pilot conducts a preflight or “walk-around” inspection of his aircraft.

Check the tires for wear and correct air pressure. Have the wheel bearings inspected by a mechanic every year. Replace the tires when the treads are worn.

Check that the trailer lights (running, braking and turning) are all working. Always keep a set of spare light bulbs on hand.

Inspect the electrical wires that connect from the tow vehicle’s lights through to the trailer lights. Some
sections of these wires are especially prone to wear. These areas include where the wires rub when passing through channeling. Use electrical tape or flexible plastic wire conduit to cover and protect the wire insulation.

Check electrical connectors for corrosion. Because a Mobile Food Cart is regularly washed, electrical
connectors are especially prone to corrosion.

Wear or corrosion in the electrical system will cause serious failure. A short circuit can blow the fuse in the tow vehicle or burn out the trailer electrical adaptor. As a result, none of the trailer or tow vehicle lights will work. An open circuit due to parted wired or connectors will likewise result in lights not working. This is a real serious road safety issue.

Make sure that the propane tanks and propane gas equipment and appliances are in good safe working
order. This is both an operational and a safety issue. Inspect the propane tanks and hoses. Propane leaks can be detected using soapy water. Any leaks will be shown by expanding bubbles. Check and replace any worn hoses. Do not attempt to repair hoses by yourself such as by using electrical or duct tape to cover over the leaks in the hose! Replace or repair any defective gas equipment when a problem is detected. Do not delay! Check that gas hose connections are secure and will not come loose.

Ensure that the propane tanks are firmly secured in place and will not shake loose during transport.

Likewise, make sure that all doors close and lock firmly so they won’t spring open during transit.

Trouble Shooting 

Gas Burner Will Not Start:

* Check that the valve at the propane tank is open.

* Check that the propane tank line is connected to the burner.

* Check that the propane tank has gas in it.

* Check that the burner gas control in ON and set to MAX.

Gas Burner Was On But Now Has Gone Out:

* Check that the propane tank line is connected to the burner.

* Check that the propane tank has gas in it.

Flames Appear Under the Gas Appliance:

* Shut off the propane gas supply at the tank.

* Allow area to cool.

* Check that the propane gas supply lines are not loose or detached from the burner element.

Road Lights on the trailer Do Not Come On:

* Check that the electrical plug on the trailer is connected to the adaptor on the towing vehicle.

* Check that one of the wires from the tow vehicle are not severed somewhere along their length.

* Check the fuse box in the tow vehicle to see if the fuse for the brake, signal or marker lights is blown. If it is, replace it, but also check for a short circuit in the trailer’s lighting wires that may have caused it.
Also keep in mind that the electrical adaptor leading to the trailer may also have an internal fuse that has blown.

Test the output voltage from the adaptor – if it is less than 10 volts it is likely damaged.

* Check the electrical lines on the trailer for damage such as wear caused by rubbing against the chassis or channeling. Replace worn wire.

* Check the electrical connectors for corrosion. Replace worn or corroded connectors. Seal them to prevent moisture from causing future corrosion.

* Check for faulty ground wire connections on the trailer. Oftentimes corrosion or a loose connection  prevents a good electric return path and lights will not activate.

* Check that the light bulbs are not broken.

Wheels Squeak with Moving trailer:

* Have a mechanic check the wheel bearings and lubricate or replace as necessary.

Electrical Appliances Will Not Work:

* Extension cord from outlet may have become unplugged.

* Fuse inside building supplying power may have blown.

* Check entire length of extension cord for wear or breaks. It may have been severed.

DC Refrigerator Is No Longer Keeping Food Cold:

* Check thermostat setting on fridge.

* Battery may be depleted and need re-charging.

* Battery internal electrolyte level may be low and needs refilling. If adding water use distilled water available from a drug store.

* Wires from battery to refrigerator may have become damaged, disconnected, or the connections corroded.

AC Refrigerator Is No Longer Keeping Food Cold:

* Check thermostat setting on fridge.

* Extension cord from outlet may have become unplugged.

* Fuse inside building supplying power may have blown.

* Check entire length of extension cord for wear or breaks. It may have been severed.

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