Part 2: Guidelines for Proper Use of Rental Equipment Prevent Mistakes
Guidelines for Proper Use of Rental Equipment Prevent Mistakes
By Thomas A. Westerkamp June 2012 - Equipment Rental & Tools
Another quick way to void the contract and potentially incur a large bill for injury and damages is to use the equipment for a purpose for which it is not intended. For example, renters too often overload aerial work platforms or use them on sloping terrain. Knowing the load capacity, irregular terrain capability, and the nature and size of loads is essential to avoid this mistake.
Using the equipment improperly leads to unintended consequences. For instance, not having a solid base under a jack before loading or overloading the work platform on an aerial lift can cause tipping, releasing the load and injuring personnel. Failure to use outriggers on a crane, even on level surfaces, will reduce its load capacity and cause instability and accidents.
Electrical equipment requires advanced planning. Are proper voltages available? Are outlets for hookups to the equipment located within reach of the job site? Are proper grounding connections available? Also, from a worker safety standpoint, it is a serious mistake to overlook personal protective equipment (PPE) as a part of the job planning. Hard hats, safety glasses with side shields, goggles, safety shoes, gloves, fall protection, hearing protection, smoke and fume protection, and heat protection are essential for worker safety.
How can managers avoid these and other mistakes and make smarter, more cost-effective decisions when renting equipment? Consider these guidelines:
- Have a well-trained and experienced equipment operator.
- Get manuals for rented equipment, along with a maintenance log, to verify recommended maintenance has been performed on time.
- Check for visible damage of the body, frame and accessories.
- Perform a complete pre-operation inspection checklist. The item that is not checked during this process is the one that will fail.
- Make sure moving parts are guarded.
- Ensure safety devices and warning lights and horns are working.
- Be certain the lift equipment and related products are properly sized for both the operating space and load capacity.
- Make sure no warning lights or strange sounds indicate problems.
- Make sure gauges are working.
- Check to see that all exhausts and discharges are positioned so they do not endanger personnel or obstruct views.
- When renting HVAC equipment, be sure a large enough site is available for the unit that will not interfere with the job progress. Are ducts included of sufficient diameter and length? Is a path available for the ducts from the HVAC unit away from the building?
- Make sure to assess and plan for PPE. Is first aid available? Are emergency evacuation plans up to date?
- Ensure that safety practices for the job have been carefully thought out.
- Ensure that material safety data sheets (MSDS) are on hand and available where everyone with the need to know has access to them.