By Greg Sitek
No snow today or for the immediate future. That means spring has sprung and orange cones should start blooming everywhere. That means the sounds of construction equipment should be filling the air replacing the sounds of snowplows and salt spreaders – at lease in a majority of the country.
Are you ready? More importantly, are your employees and machines ready?
Spring is a good time to refresh everyone’s understanding and knowledge of safety on the jobsite, around the equipment and while operating the equipment. Most equipment manufacturers have machine-specific safety information available. This is a good time to make sure that this information is available. If not, contact your local equipment dealer or the manufacturer and get copies. Hand it out to the concerned or involved employees. Don’t depend on them picking it up on their own.
If you need generic safety materials The Association of Equipment Manufacturers has a library of safety manuals covering virtually all the equipment you use. They also have a selection of videos both of which are available in languages other than English. You can visit AEM online at: www.aem.org and click on the store button or scan: (Insert aem safety qr scan code). The equipment manufacturers who produce the equipment have developed the AEM safety material.
So much for the personnel, after you make certain that they are properly dressed and supplied with the required safety for the job. Let’s talk about the equipment.
Most equipment owners have been spending the winter months repairing, updating and getting their equipment ready for the job. Even so there is always the final check before a piece of equipment is loaded on a trailer headed for the job.
Two things come to mind that are often forgotten: the first is making certain that the operator’s manual is onboard; the second is that the ground engaging tools have been serviced and are ready for the first job.
Since I have your attention, let’s add and another item to the list… the prestart check list. You know, the walk-around inspection list.
It’s difficult to remember what every button, switch, lever, light, warning buzzer means. It’s easy to forget where something is, especially if you change machines with any regularity. Beside the operator’s manual is loaded with useful information, hints and even tips that can help you do the job better. It’s good to have it on hand for quick and easy reference JUST IN CASE.
What about the ground engaging tools? For years there has been an argument about what is the most important part of a piece of equipment – the machine itself, the engine, the electrical system, the hydraulic system, the operator’s station.
The correct answer is the “tool.” Without it the machine has nothing to do. And the tool depends on its ground-engaging component for its effectiveness whether it’s teeth, blade or piercing tool. Dull, worn teeth, blade or leading edge on a bucket hinder a machine’s ability to do its job. Dull worn ground engaging tools minimize a machine’s productivity and maximize its fuel consumption – a perfect combination for lower productivity and less profit.
Pre-start checklists are almost always provided by the machine manufacturer in the operator’s manual or service manual. Some equipment owners, based on experience, develop their own inspection routines. If you’re looking for information relative to equipment maintenance and management you should visit the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) by visiting: www.aemp.org
In any organization or on any construction projects the two most important components are the personnel and the equipment. Take care of both…
This articled appeared as an editorial in the April 2105 issues of the 13 ACP publications.