Monthly Archives: November 2017

12 Ways to Prevent Sickness & Injuries This Winter

 

With winter quickly approaching, it’s important to be up-to-speed with common, cold-related, illnesses and injuries and the preventative measures that can be taken. We’ve assembled a list of quick tips and takeaways to keep you one step ahead of the cold this winter.

  1. Update Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with the colder weather in mind. It’s important to consider the health of employees and coworkers. Make it a priority to ensure that workers are wearing weather-appropriate gear and clothing to protect their health and well-being.
  2. Energy level is an important factor to consider in the winter. Workers can reduce fatigue by limiting activities which create heavy sweating and/or reduce circulation. Also, keeping water and warm fluid available to workers can prevent dehydration and boost energy.
  3. Encourage workers to regularly exercise. While regularly exercising is an individual choice, the habit can boost the immune system so it can’t hurt to remind employees/coworkers of this fact.
  4. Encourage coworkers/employees to avoid touching their face during the flu season. People who occasionally touch their eyes and nose are more likely to develop frequent upper respiratory infections than hands-off folks, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Occupational Health.
  5. Also, encourage workers to avoid smoking if possible and to prioritize getting sufficient sleep. Both smoking and lack of sleep increases one’s risk of catching cold-related illnesses.
  6. Enacting a buddy system is a great procedure to use to ensure each employee is monitored for health/well-being issues.
  7. Keep health-related reminders clear and visible to employees, such as: “Wash Hands” or “Warning: Authorized Personnel Only.” Signs and markings are helpful when communicating potential hazards to workers.
  8. Clearly communicate emergency procedures to workers and regularly practice/remind workers of said procedures.
  9. Keep areas clear: make sure pathways, work areas and stairways are clear from unnecessary items that could create injury.
  10. Improve lowly lit areas. Clearly highlight areas that are difficult to see in darker conditions. Light pathways, entries, low-clearance ceilings and other lowly lit areas. Reflective lights can be useful when considering dimly-lit work areas.
  11. Apply tread tapes to areas with a tendency to ice or are slippery, such as: stairs, doorways, ramps, handrails and other high-risk areas.
  12. Label areas that are hazardous in icy or cold conditions by inserting signs or labels to areas predisposition-ed to create slips, trips and falls. Examples of problem areas are door entries, parking lots and staircases.

We hope these tips may keep you safe and healthy this winter!

The Cause and Effects of the New ANSI A92 Standards

Big changes have been announced for the regulation of certified boom and scissor type platform machines.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is an organization with the mission to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems and safeguarding their integrity, according to the ANSI website. ANSI has announced new standards that will affect rental fleets, rental customers and operators. The new ANSI A92 standards will include A92.22 for safe use, A92.20 for design and A92.24 for training. The new standards are replacing prior ANSI standards A92.3, A92.5, A92.6 and A92.8 which covered manually propelled aerial, booms, scissors and under-bridge inspection machines. The standards dictate stability, testing and safety requirements to manufacturers so that consumers are provided certified and safe machines.
Hugg & Hall has assembled further information to expand on our prior article regarding these changes in order to assist with the education and implementation of the new standards. Hugg & Hall hopes this will help with the adaptation and education of the new ANSI changes.

The Cause of the Standards

ANSI and their Canadian counterpart, the Canadian Standards Authority (CSA), are moving toward equipment design standards that will bring North American equipment up-to-date with the current standards implemented in Europe to reduce global variances in the industry.

Some Changes & Effects Associated With the Standards

  • Terminology

Much of the prior compliance terminology, as used for training purposes, will be updated. There will be 31 new definitions and 15 changes to prior definitions. A significant change to the standard terminology is the update of Aerial Work Platforms (AWP) to Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWP). Another relevant update will be the use of the term “operation manual” versus the prior used “operator’s manual.”

An important terminological methodology change will be the use of groups and types to define MEWP categories. For example, “Group A” will be used to define MEWPs with vertical platforms. “Group B” will be used to define booms. Examples of the use of types of MEWPs include: “Type 1” to define static MEWPs, “Type 2” to define mobile from ground control MEWPs and “Type 3” to define mobile from platform MEWPs. Type and group terminology can be combined to further define MEWPs. For example, “1A” can be used to describe a vertical platform, static MEWP.

  • Platform Load Sensing

Perhaps the most notable change to prior ANSI standards is the new requirement of load sensing on aerial equipment. The prior standard required the machine operator to ensure that the machine was not loaded beyond capacity, as communicated by the manufacturer. The new standard requires manufacturers to incorporate load sensing technology on each machine which restricts overloading by disabling elevating functions when overloaded. The load sensing device will sound an alarm when overloaded and disable some functions of the machine to prevent unsafe use.

Scissor lifts are expected to be modified to generally implement the new platform load sensory standard via angle sensors, pressure transducers or load sensing pins. Boom lifts are expected to be modified to generally implement the new standard via load cells.

  • Wind Force

Another significant adjustment to the prior standards are further regulations regarding wind force. Wind force is assessed more aggressively under the new standards. Though requirements will vary for each machine, standards for scissors and vertical masts have more drastic updates due to having narrower slab units. Some units previously cleared for outdoor use may be re-organized as indoor-only machines due to unsafe wind force ratings. Boom lifts may be required to adjust/add weight for safe use in regards to wind force, but should be less affected than scissors and vertical masts.

  • Dynamic Terrain Sensing

Prior standards have been updated to include terrain sensing so drive and boom functions will be disabled if not within safety and terrain/slope limits. Stability calculations have been updated and may, largely, affect the difference between air and foam-filled tires. Due to feasibility issues, foam filled tires are expected to become standard procedure for RT scissors and RT booms.

  • Railings and Platform Entries

There have been updates to platform railing and entrance gate standards. Additional height standards for railings on scissors is the new guideline which requires the railings to be foldable as the added height results in scissors no longer fitting through standard door heights.

As well as added height to railings, entrance gates have undergone an update. Flexible devices, such as chains (which were the previous norm), are no longer permitted to be used as platform gates on scissors and toe boards are required to be present on all areas of platforms. This will plausibly result in half height, full height or saloon style gates on scissors. However boom lifts will generally keep the prior standardized gates but, again, toe boards are required to cover the entrance area.

 

While the financial effects of the new standards are unclear, it’s possible that product prices may increase to adjust features for compliance. However, the full financial effects are unclear at this early-stage.

Silica Dust And The New OSHA Standard

Silica Dust & The New OSHA Standard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has enacted new standards to protect workers from the dangers of silica dust. We understand that contractors, equipment companies and other impacted groups may not be enthusiastic about more regulation and procedural changes, so we’ve assembled some information to assist you through the adjustment and to provide you with the information and resources that you need.

1. What is Changing Because of the New Regulations

Silica is a common crystallized mineral found in the ground. Sand, stone, concrete and mortar all contain crystalline silica. Crystalline silica is also used to make products including: glass, pottery, ceramics, brick and artificial stone. Particles of respirable crystalline silica is created when cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling and crushing stone, rock, concrete, brick, block and mortar. Workers are exposed to crystalline silica, or silica dust, when conducting activities such as sandblasting, sawing brick or concrete, sanding or drilling into concrete walls, grinding mortar, manufacturing brick, concrete blocks, stone countertops or ceramic products, hydraulic fracturing, foundry work and cutting or crushing stone. About 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work, according to OSHA.

Workers exposed to silica dust particles are at an increased risk of developing the following diseases, according to OSHA:Silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death.

  • Silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death.
  • Lung cancer.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Kidney disease.

2. What is Changing Because of the New Regulations

The new standards may seem daunting but we will try to simplify them as much as possible. Basically, responding to the dangerous effects of silica dust, OSHA has issued two new respirable crystalline silica standards: One for construction and one for general industry/maritime. The construction standard began implementation on September 23 and the general industry/maritime standard will begin implementation on June 23, 2018.

Simply put, there are three paths to complying to the new construction standard which requires workers not be exposed to more than 50 µg/m3 of silica dust in an eight-hour period (this is down from the prior standard of 250 µg/m3).

  • The first path is through complying via the standardized Table 1 method, which is a prescribed method of controls that is commercially available and easy to use. Please find a copy of the standardized Table 1 here: https://www.osha.gov/silica/SilicaConstructionRegText.pdf.
  • The second path is via performance or objective data to document that workers are in compliance with the 50 µg/m3 exposure limit.
  • The third requires periodically testing for a particular application to validate if the user falls under the permissible 50 µg/m3 exposure limit.

Additional requirements include the below. Please see OSHA 29 CFR 1926.1153 for a full listing of requirements.

  • Keeping a written exposure control plan.
  • Designating a key competent person.
  • Compliant worker training
  • .Restriction of housekeeping practices.
  • Written records of trainings, control plans, etc.

There are a few additional methods for controlling dust inhalation, as recommended by OSHA:

  • Use concrete saws with a built-in system which applies water to the saw blade to limit the amount of silica dispersed in the air.
  • Use ventilation and vacuum systems with a hood surrounding the grinding wheel and suction capabilities which captures dust at the grinding point. Other features that should be included are: a 1.5-to-2 in.-diameter vacuum exhaust hose, a high-efficiency particulate air filter (which are recommended as an alternative to compressed air systems while cleaning surfaces) and a static pressure gauge.
  • Use a smaller wheel or less aggressive tool and use chipping versus grinding features to reduce silica dust exposure.
  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupters and sealable electrical connectors for electrical tools and equipment.

If none of these methods can be used, workers will be required to use respiratory protection and be trained on the appropriate use and maintenance of the respiratory systems used.

3. The Effect of the Silica Regulations

A major effect of these new regulations will be updated inventory by stores and rental agencies. The following products may gradually become available by stores in order to assist clients/contractors with OSHA compliance.

  • Products featuring wet solution systems which provide water delivery for limited silica exposure.
  • Suitable respirators.
  • Vacuums featuring: 99 percent filter efficiency, filter-cleaning mechanisms and 25 cfm of suction per inch of blade diameter for hand-held grinders.
  • Dust collecting accessories including: shrouds, hollowed-out drill bits, vacuum adapters and spare vacuum hoses.
  • Supporting information with products to assist with compliance procedures.

While the financial effects of the new regulations are unclear, it’s possible that product prices may increase to adjust features for OSHA-compliance. However, the full financial effects are unclear at this early-stage. Although adjusting to new regulations can be burdensome, the safety of workers is the foremost priority and there are many resources available to companies/groups.

10 Things to Know When Winterizing Your Equipment

Winter is quickly approaching and, as such, it’s time to start thinking about seasonal equipment maintenance and the necessary steps to take to protect your machines from the cold. Here are some useful tips to get you, and your machines, through the colder months:

1. Use weather-appropriate oil and coolant

It’s a good idea to change your oil before and after the winter season, according to an article published by The Balance. Another important thing to remember is to use the correct oil for your equipment. Engine oil viscosity, the thickness/consistency of the oil, is an important factor when choosing the correct type. A low viscosity oil is an important conduit for faster oil flow.

Typically, the recommended ratio of coolant to water is 50/50, however, in the colder months a 70/30 ratio can be useful in order to prevent water from freezing, according to The Balance article. Having said that, too much coolant can catalyze a situation where the water pump works harder. However, too much water can freeze, so it is a careful balancing act.

2. Remember to clean your equipment prior to storing

It’s important to clean your equipment during the winter months after use and before storage. If dirt, mud and snow is not removed, it may harden and make operation more difficult for future use. It’s recommended to pay particular attention to the engine bay, undercarriage, wheel hubs, brakes and other exposed areas, according an article published on the Stärke Material Handling Group blog.

3. Properly maintain and store batteries for the colder months

If your equipment will be used during the winter months, be sure to verify that the battery’s electrolyte is filled to the indicated level, according to The Balance article. The terminal of the battery should be cleaned of debris and rust to prevent it from slowly draining. Do not attempt to charge a frozen battery as this may cause it to explode.

Although the perfect way to store your battery is debatable, removing the battery for storage is a good option. It is recommended to store the battery in a dry, clean area and to leave it connected to a battery maintainer to ensure it remains charged, according to the Stärke Material Handling Group blog.

4. Protect your tires

Lower temperatures can reduce tire pressure so it’s important to check for the proper tire pressure and to habitually inspect tires for wear and tear. If possible, consider using track-mounted equipment in the colder months versus tire-mounted equipment, suggests the The Balance article.

5. Storing your equipment

Moisture is an important factor when choosing the best place to store your equipment. Preferably, the storage site should be enclosed with a concrete floor versus dirt floor to reduce moisture, according to the Stärke Material Handling Group blog.

Another couple of things to remember when storing your equipment include: keeping the windows of any vehicle cabins cracked and taking rodent resistant measures. Keeping windows cracked will allow the air to circulate in your vehicle and will reduce the buildup of mold and moisture in cabins. Placing a ball of steel wool in the exhaust pipe and air intake openings, while stored, and placing mothballs inside cabins are good preventative measures for rodent resistance, according to the Stärke Material Handling Group blog.

6. Maintain your fuel tank

Fuel tanks should be maintained to prevent condensation inside the tank and fuel lines, according to The Balance article. Fuel treatments thaw frozen fuel filters, liquefy fuel and remove moisture from the lines and tanks. Fuel treatments can be added to both diesel and fuel tanks. It’s recommended to keep a spare filter available, for your convenience when it becomes necessary.

7. Remember to grease

Remember to maintain all grease points on your equipment during the winter months. Properly greasing points on each apparatus will prevent moisture from building and creating damage to your equipment, according to The Balance article. Manufacturers recommend to use low-temperature lubricants during the colder months.

8. Fluids

When preparing your equipment for use or for winter storage, remember to check your equipment’s fluids. If engine oil is thick or sooty, you should change the oil before proceeding with use/storage, according to the Stärke Material Handling Group blog. Other fluid levels should be checked and topped off when necessary. Anti-freeze levels are particularly important to regularly check.

9. Don’t forget to conduct routine maintenance- whether the vehicle will be used or not

Take advantage of the offseason to address any lingering maintenance issues or repairs needed on your equipment to prevent downtime during the busier months, according to the Stärke Material Handling Group blog. Regular maintenance tasks and routinely examining equipment for potential issues should be retained throughout the season.

10. Monitor diesel exhaust fluid for freezing

Newer equipment tends to use diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). DEF will freeze at 10 degrees or lower, according to The Balance article. It’s important to make sure that there is a way to heat and thaw frozen DEF to keep equipment running.

If you have any questions or concerns about your equipment and or if you need winterizing call the Hugg & Hall Service Department closest to you. Equipping you for success since 1956.