Tag Archives: Tips and tricks

Prepare for the Winter: Machine Winterization Tips

Winter brings shorter days, frigid temps, and slick, icy conditions. During this time of year, we need to take extra care of our equipment to avoid any damage the colder temperatures can bring. Read on to learn some tips on machine winterization!

MACHINE WINTERIZATION TIPS

Follow these best practices to make sure your equipment is ready for winter.

CHECK CHAIN TANKS, FINAL DRIVES, SWING GEAR BATHS, AND GEAR BOXES FOR WATER

Be sure that you are using coolant that complies with ASTM standard D-621, with a freeze point low enough for you climate. If coolant freezes, it can crack the engine block and ruin the engine.

ADD FUEL CONDITIONER 

Fuel conditioner prevents your fuel from freezing and ensures your engine starts in the cold. The amount of fuel conditioner needed varies depending on the brand and model of the machine. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the amount of conditioner needed. Lastly, always match the fuel conditioner to the type of fuel you’re using (e.g. low sulfur).

CHECK THE FUEL FILTER

If the fuel filter is clogged, moisture can build up and freeze in the winter, causing your machine to run improperly or fail to start. Empty the water traps in the filters before cold weather arrives. To avoid downtime, keep an extra set of fuel filters in your cab.

CHECK COLD START AIDS

Diesel engines spray ether into the air system to help the engine start in cold weather. For older machines that have ether spray bottles, check the bottle to make sure it isn’t empty. For new machines with an automatic ether system, inspect the connections and hoses for cracks or loose connections.

CHECK THE BLOCK HEATER

Block heaters keep fluids at the optimum temperature and viscosity. If the block heater isn’t working, oil can thicken, making it harder to turn the engine over and causes added stress on the battery. To test that it is working properly, plug in the heater then touch the hoses to ensure they are warm.

INSPECT AIR PRE-CLEANERS

Large dust particles and debris can build up during the summer and should be removed. Otherwise, snow and ice could collect around them, allowing moisture into the air system, which could cause engine failure.

CHECK BATTERY AND CONNECTIONS

Corrosion around battery connections causes less voltage to be transmitted, and increases strain on the battery. These corroded connections can drain the battery, preventing your machine from starting. Periodic inspections for corrosion can reduce the chance of having a dead battery.

If your machine is still giving you trouble after you perform these winterization tips, contact our service department!

WINTER STORAGE

DRAIN THE FUEL TANK IF POSSIBLE

If you have a diesel engine, either drain the engine or leave it completely full during the winter months. Draining the fuel tank can be time consuming, but this eliminates the possibility of condensation forming in the fuel tank and spreading. Condensation can clog the fuel filter, which can clog fuel lines, carburetors, and injectors.

RUN THE ENGINE AFTER CLEANING

Run your machine after cleaning the engine and replacing the oil so that a protective film of oil coats the internal parts. The oil coating acts as a rust preventative. Pour a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze into the coolant system before running as well, to protect the cooling system up to -34°F.

CLEAN & FULLY CHARGE BATTERIES, THEN DISCONNECT THE POWER LEADS

Never store discharged batteries. Colder temperatures slow the discharge rate of fully charged batteries.

START MACHINES ONCE A MONTH

Avoid starting machines in extremely cold weather. Find a time when the temperature is above freezing to start the machine and fully warm hydraulics after the engine comes to operating temperatures.

DO NOT TRY TO BREAK CRAWLER TYPE MACHINES FROM A BADLY FROZEN SITUATION

The result can be powertrain damage.

COLD WEATHER OPERATION

PROTECT YOUR MACHINE

If you can’t keep your machine inside when it is not in use, try to at least keep a water resistant tarp over the engine. Snow brings condensation, which can cause problems for the entire engine. 

MANAGE PRODUCTIVITY

Cold weather makes the earth harder, and frost can penetrate roadways and aggregates to make utility, road, and crushing jobs much more difficult and time consuming. Winter months have less daylight, so manage your time wisely.

CLEAN AREAS DESIGNATED FOR SNOW REMOVAL

Clean up debris or equipment that will be hidden by fallen snow. Mark any areas of concern with reflective stakes, so snow removal crews can easily identify and stay away from those areas.

PLAN FOR EARTHWORK PROJECTS

Frozen chunks of ground need to be placed in designated areas. The frozen chunks of earth contain water that can cause major issues in the spring, such as sinkholes.

WARM UP THE MACHINE/WARM UP TO IMPROVE STEERING RESPONSE

Let machines come up to operating temperature before working. Steering response on equipment with hydraulic steering may become very slow at low temperatures, even when the correct oils are used. 

CHECK  FOR ICE BUILDUP 

Check for ice or snow buildup in exhaust or intake if applicable. Inspect and clear any ice or snow from the throttle and break area.

STAY AWARE OF SAFETY

Mount and dismount your machine using three points of contact. Remember that you are working with snow, ice slips and falls are a common cause of injuries. Wear your seatbelt when operating equipment and stay alert. 

Prepare not only your equipment and jobsites; but your employees as well for these temperatures, to help avoid any possible personal injuries and downtime from work. Visit our blog to learn more winter safety tips!

Weather and Wildlife Hazards

As the seasons begin to change, it’s a great time for a refresher on a few important safety tips. With cooler/damper weather arriving during the daylight hours, many types of wildlife will start to travel across roadways. While animal strikes are more likely to happen this time of year, there are some preventative measures we can take to reduce these incidents.

Joshua Brannon, Regional EHS Manager for Hugg & Hall Equipment Co., has provided a list of tips/tricks on how to lower the chances of accidents and encounters with wildlife.

Saftety Tips & Tricks

  • During early to mid morning hours deer and other animals will be active and crossing roadways.
  • Late afternoon can also be a high-risk time of day in which animals cross roadways.
  • As hunting season begins, deer and other animals are forced out of their natural habitat and towards roadways and heavily populated areas.
  • If you are traveling a known route where deer are often present or deer crossing signage is posted- slow down, be observant, and DO NOT SWERVE if an animal runs in front of the vehicle. Attempting to swerve to miss the animal is more dangerous and could cause collisions with other drivers.
  • In any time of adverse weather conditions (wet, rain, snow, sleet, ice, etc.) you should increase your following distance twice the normal distance. This would be approximately four car links from the car in front of you.
  • The time change during Daylight Savings can result in driver fatigue, plan accordingly and get plenty of rest.

Even if you do not drive a company vehicle, travel to and from work can still be affected by weather conditions and striking wildlife. Incorporating the above information into your daily drives can make for safer roadways!

Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety- Fire Prevention Week

 

Fire Prevention Week is observed during the week in which October 9th falls and was first proclaimed in 1925 by President Calvin Coolidge. Knowing the right time to change the batteries in your smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) detector can save your life! 

What if someone in my home is deaf or hard of hearing?

There are smoke detectors and alert devices that alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These devices include strobe lights that flash to alert people when the smoke detector sounds. Other items such a pillow or bed shakers designed to work with your smoke detector can be purchased and installed. For more information on this topic, visit the National Fire Protection Association website.

Is there a beep or chirp coming from your smoke or CO detector?

A chirping alarm ( one chirp every 30-60 seconds) means the battery needs to be replaced. If the detector continues to chirp after you’ve replaced the battery, then it’s time to replace your detector! 

Did you know, smoke detectors should be tested monthly and replaced every 10 years!

What do the beeps/chirps mean?

Three (3) loud beeps means it has detected smoke or fire.

Four (4) loud beeps means it has detected carbon monoxide.

If you hear beeping- get out to safety and call 911!

To learn more about Fire Prevention Week visit firepreventionweek.org or the National Fire Protection Association website.

 

 

5 Summer Safety Tips

The summer months come and go in the blink of an eye, but the warmer temperatures can linger on well into the fall. When working in these hotter conditions, employees need to take certain precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses. Below are five safety tips to keep your crew safe during the summer.

 

 

 

Stay Hydrated

Having accessible drinking water and staying well-hydrated is the body’s best defense in hot working conditions. Make sure employees have plenty of water on site and are encouraged to frequently rehydrate. 

Shaded Areas for Resting

Make sure employees have a chance to take breaks out of the direct sun to avoid heatstroke and sunburns. Having lighter mesh clothing and sunscreen are also important tools to staying safe in the sun.

Take Constant Breaks

Continuous work in the heat is not advisable, taking frequent breaks to cool off is ideal when working in hot weather. 

The CDC estimates the amount of break time needed depending on weather and type of work being done- for example, doing moderate work in 103 degrees Fahrenheit would require a 30 minute break for every 30 minutes of work. 

Learn to Recognize the Signs of Heat-Related Illness

Heat stress can be dangerous mainly because it can come on very suddenly- the person experiencing it may not even know it. Making sure everyone on the jobsite is able to spot the signs of heatstroke and heat-related illness, and what to do if these symptoms appear in someone, can be the key to keeping everyone safe.

Some signs to look for include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Clammy, damp, or pale skin
  • Strange behavior or altered mental state
  • Panting/rapid breathing, rapid heart rate

If someone is experiencing any number of these symptoms should stop working immediately and seek medical attention. 

Use Climate Control Equipment When Working Indoors

Working inside on a hot day can begin to feel stifling very quickly. Using industrial size fans or air conditioning can make employees in an indoor work environment cool, safe and productive. Hugg & Hall Utility Services offers multiple air conditioning units, including the Airrex w/ Dehumidifier which offers programmable controls and operating range of 64-113 degrees. This can be especially important to control the dampness in the air to keep materials dry and provide cool air for employees.  

Tips To Keeping Your Equipment Up & Running In The Heat

For equipment owners/users, warmer temperatures present unique challenges which require seasonal maintenance routines. Hugg & Hall Equipment Company is dedicated to supporting their customers through the equipment renting, owning and/or maintenance process. As such, here are some tips for keeping equipment operational amid sweltering temperatures.

 

  • Check your engines!

When it’s warm outside, engines are warm, too. In warmer temps, it’s essential that engines have the correct coolant and oil levels. To prevent damage to your radiator and engine, make sure to regularly check that water, coolant and oil remain at manufacturer recommended levels.

  • Check for leaks!

Equipment should be regularly checked for leaks. Remember to regularly check for hydraulic/oil leaks around seals and bolts.  

  • Check your brakes!

It’s especially important to check your brakes in the warmer months. Brake friction is less reliable when it’s hot outside because brakes are adjusting to the additional heat. Make sure to check your brakes often… you may prevent a disaster!

  • Properly store your equipment!

It’s important to give equipment reprieve from direct sunlight. Because the heat can have negative effects on some equipment components, consider storing your equipment outside of direct sunlight or, at the very least, use tarps for sun protection.

  • Check your coolant!

It’s essential to use the correct concentration of coolant in the summer. Operators are typically advised to use a 50/50 concentration of coolant to water. Too much water can lead to decay, a lower boiling point and further damage.

  • Check your belts!

If you’re concerned about overheating, make sure to check for discolored hoses and loose belts, belt maintenance is often overlooked. These are often early indicators of an overheated machine and regularly checking for signs can keep you out of a pickle.

  • Remember to grease!

To keep your engines up and running, don’t forget to properly grease. Check the machine’s manual to confirm you’re using the appropriate grease, and as often as advised. Since dirt and grime can mix with grease and catalyze wear and tear on equipment, it’s suggested to regularly clean machines.

  • Cool your jets!

During the summer heat, it’s especially important to ensure your cooling system is operating effectively. Machines should be regularly inspected for debris to optimize air flow. It’s advised to habitually clean cooling systems with compressed air and to check radiators, inlets and outlets for grime and debris.

  • Check your tires!

Summer heat adds extra stress on tires. It’s essential to check tire pressure often. Tire pressure can increase with the temperature so regularly check that tires aren’t over-inflated.

  • Continue regular preventive maintenance!

In congruence with these extra steps, don’t forget to continue all standard preventive maintenance procedures. Consult machine’s manuals to confirm your maintenance routine covers all the bases!

Hugg & Hall is dedicated to supporting their customers. For any maintenance question, contact our service department. Our service representatives are willing, and happy, to assist you.

Winter Weather Safety

 

When winter weather strikes, it is important for construction sites to stay active and productive. Bitter cold, snow and ice can cause conditions that are damaging to equipment and could cause personal risk; leading to jobs falling behind schedule. To reduce the chance of injury or downtime, read on for tips to stay safe & to keep your team working at their highest productivity.

 

 

Personal Safety in Winter Conditions

·        Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls

As temperatures approach the freezing point, it is necessary for your company to take the proper steps in preventing slips, trips & falls. Thin patches of ice begin to occur when air temperatures reach the 30s and become dangerous quickly. No matter what kind of construction site you are working on, it is important to always put your team’s safety first.

In the winter months, proper personal protective equipment (PPE), plays a significant role in keeping employees safe. Non-slip footwear is essential in preventing slips, trips & falls & clothing, such as gloves, jackets & hardhat liners allow employees to stay comfortable and warm on site.

Like inappropriate footwear, equipment and ladders create additional job site hazards in the winter months. Avoid hazards while climbing onto equipment by conducting routine inspections for surface ice.  If any ice or snow is detected, clear the surface immediately and be sure your team’s footwear is also free of snow and ice. As always, assure your team is in their fall protection for additional safety.

·        Recognizing Cold Related Illness & Knowing First Aid

Workers can experience serious health complications due to freezing temperatures, preventing sickness in the winter is ideal, but in many situations, cold related illness may still occur.  Recognizing cold related illness, such as hypothermia, frostbite & trench foot, and knowing basic first aid, can be lifesaving on your job site. 

  • Hypothermia

When exposed to the cold, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can produce. This causes your body to use much of its stored energy, leading to hypothermia. Early signs of hypothermia include shivering, loss of coordination, confusion & feeling fatigued. Prolonged hypothermia leads to blue skin, dilation of the pupils, lowered pulse rate & a possible loss of consciousness.

If an individual on your team is experiencing the symptoms of hypothermia please alert the job supervisor and request medical assistance. Move the victim into a warm area and remove any wet clothing, covering with additional clothing or blankets; warm beverages may help increase the victims body temperature. Once the body temperature has increased, keep the victim dry and warm.

  • Frostbite

A loss of feeling and color in cold affected areas can be defined as frostbite. Areas most often affected are the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Frostbite can cause permanent damage to body tissue and may even lead to limb amputation. Symptoms of frostbite include reduced blood flow, numbness, tingling & stinging, aches and pail waxy skin.

Workers that are suffering with the symptoms of frostbite should immediately find warmth. The victim should avoid using the affected appendage and immerse it in warm (NOT HOT) water. If no warm water is available keep the affected area warm with body heat – do not rub or massage the frostbitten area and do not expose to heat, as it may cause additional damage or burns.

  • Trench Foot

Also known as immersion foot, trench foot is an injury caused by exposure to wet and cold conditions over a prolonged time. Trench foot can occur in temperatures up to 60°F if the individual’s feet are constantly wet. This injury occurs because wet feet lose heat at a higher rate than dry feet and to prevent heat loss, the body constricts all blood circulation to the victim’s feet. Symptoms include discoloration, numbness, lower body cramping, swelling, blisters and bleeding under the skin.

To care for trench foot, remove the victim’s shoe or boots, as well as their socks. Dry the victim’s feet and be sure to avoid walking as it may cause additional damage & seek medical attention.

Preparing for Harsh Weather Conditions

With the change of season, it is important to keep an eye out for the health and safety of yourself & other employees. Taking breaks in heated areas and proper hydration are essential to winter safety. Time away from the elements in a heated area should be encouraged in order for employees to stay dry. Breaks are also a great location to check for the sign of cold related illness. For information on providing your job site with a heated break area, click here.

 

Now that you know the dangers of winter conditions & how to prepare for them, you will be better able to stay active and productive in the winter months. For further preparation we recommend keeping an updated calendar and having a set breaking system to keep your employees safe.

Job Site 𝑺𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑪𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 Tips & Tricks

Ahhhh — It’s that time of the year again, time for spring cleaning. 

Temperatures are rising, flowers are blooming, which means it’s the perfect time to give your job site the deep “spring cleaning” it’s been waiting for.  

Let’s face it, taking the extra time to clean up after yourself and others can be a pain. Here at Hugg & Hall, part of our commitment to safety is ensuring our work areas are organized and clean at any given moment, always in compliance with OSHA standards. 

Below we’ll go over the benefits of maintaining your job site, preventative measures to keep tidy year around, and tips for giving your site the 𝑺𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑪𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒏 it needs. 

A Clean Job Site Has Its Benefits 

It should be obvious that clean sites help minimize the potential of slip hazards, falling debris and unwanted guests like insects and vermin; but there are also many benefits to cleaning up that you may have never considered:

  • Site cleanliness will decrease the number of wasted materials. With a proper organization system in place, workers will be more efficient not having to navigate through scattered debris and materials.
  • Organization exudes professionalism and quality workmanship, which will greatly strengthen your reputation.

Also, we should never forget that a clean job site is a productive and profitable one. When employees are happy with their work environment, they are more likely to do the job to the best of their ability!

“Spring Clean” Isn’t Just A Season

Spring doesn’t have to be the only time of year you show your tools and equipment a little extra TLC, here are some preventative measures for keeping your workplace clean — all year around! 

It’s a team effort 

  • Set up a housekeeping system that involves everyone on the team. Focus on the importance of cleaning and removing debris after it has been created and assign tasks to specific people to create accountability.

Keep waste properly contained

  • Keeping a lid on waste, literally, is important– especially when the waste could spill, evaporate or smell. Containers and product drums should be sealed tightly and labeled with the proper safety requirements.  

Eliminate the problem at the source

  • The less waste that is created at the site, the less disposal and cleanup is necessary. Choose products with minimal packaging. Measure carefully so you order only the materials you need, in the optimal sizes.

Tidying Up Tips & Tricks:

  • Regularly power wash equipment and work area after each use.
  • Establish a regular cleaning schedule.
  • Create an organization system for tools, equipment, and other stored items for easy access.
  • Shop vacuums are a great way to easily dispose of loose materials such as dust.
  • Keep dumpsters and trash cans easily accessible at all times.
  • Section off or create signs for any area that may have insecure material.

If you establish a good housekeeping routine, clean up hassle will be a thing of the past! 

Battery Charging Tips

Battery Charging Tips

Avoid Corrosion!

A dirty battery may corrode and has the potential for heat build up which, in turn, results in shorter battery life and can result in other safety hazards. Avoid corrosion by cleaning battery contacts with a soft cloth, ensuring the battery remains dry and storing batteries at room temperature. If batteries do corrode, carefully dispose of them. Contact your local recycle center for tips and information on how to best dispose and/or recycle dead batteries.

Check Connections!

It’s important to check battery connections to ensure that they are secure. Damaged connections and/or cables may require replacement to guarantee reliable power. Check your battery connections and keep your machine up and running!

Turn Off Charger Before Dislodge!

To protect your battery and to keep it functioning optimally, remember to turn off chargers before dislodging your battery.

Keep a Charge!

Maximize your battery life by keeping it above a particular charge. It’s recommended to keep batteries charged above 20 percent for optimal battery care and to extend your battery’s life.

Use Breaks!

Avoid downtime related to battery charge! One way you can achieve this is by using operator breaks or shift changes as an opportunity to charge your battery.

Remember Ventilation!

Adequate ventilation is very important for battery care and safety. Remember to store batteries and equipment in well-ventilated areas to avoid hazard. Also, when charging, keep the battery compartment open: this will improve ventilation. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific information but remember that keeping storage and work areas well-ventilated can save you a whole lotta trouble.

Check Water Levels!

Always check your battery’s water levels after charging and add any additional water as needed. This is an important step to ensuring that your battery remains operational and maintains efficiency.

Weekly Charge!

Give each of your batteries a weekly equalize charge. This is a recommended step in keeping batteries operating at their peak performance.

Contact the Experts!

Contact the manufacturer or your local dealer for further information.