On-the-job safety is a huge priority for any employer. But finding a way to make safety equipment accessible while keeping employees accountable is a difficult task. Reef Tropical Pool & Landscape (Key Largo, Fla.), like many companies, needed a solution.

“Everything from stocking the safety equipment to keeping an area for it was cumbersome,” says Juan Rodriguez, director of operations at Reef Tropical. “I had a person handing out safety equipment. You just can’t leave it on the shelf and let people help themselves.”

After Reef Tropical opened its Florida City branch, Rodriguez was introduced to the Fastenal Safety Vending Machine. It quickly became the tool he was looking for.

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The Fastenal Safety Vending Machine dispenses safety equipment like it would a soda and can be customized to meet the needs of any company. An employee simply enters an assigned four-digit PIN and chooses which item they wish to receive, whether it be safety goggles, gloves, ear plugs, etc. Limits can also be set on how often employees dispense an item, which keeps them accountable and inventory organized. And when inventory is running low, the smart machine alerts a Fastenal employee, who comes to restock any items that need replenishing.

“We believe in being as close to the customer as possible with the amount of store locations we have in the United States,” says Greg Jackson, solution sales manager at Fastenal. The company currently has over 2,300 branches and over 78,700 installed vending machines, mostly in the U.S., but its business does carry over into Canada and Mexico.

For Rodriguez, the machine has given him the confidence that employees are not only using safety gear but taking only what they need.

“Fastenal has made a huge difference,” says Rodriguez. “It cuts costs, from managing inventory to making sure inventory is available at all times. It really does it all.”

Abigail Carpenter is Editorial Assistant of AQUA Magazine.