4 FM quick reads on equipment rental
1. Equipment Rental: Ask These Eight Questions
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is the eight essential questions managers need to ask before renting equipment.
The first question: Which items would improve worker efficiency the most? Manufacturers often introduce the most innovative, modern equipment to rental companies first, so rental companies might have products managers have yet to use or hear about. Using this advanced equipment can help workers complete maintenance tasks more efficiently.
Second: What is the total cost of renting the equipment? Total cost goes beyond renting a piece of equipment for a certain amount of time.
Third: Can I review the rental contract in advance? Even though rental customers rarely read the rental contract they sign, reviewing the contract in advance will prevent confusion and misunderstandings.
Fourth: When do rental companies stop the clock? Clarifying when companies stop charging for equipment use is particularly important, since some agreements state the rental period — and the amount of time for which companies charge a customer — is the entire time the rental equipment is on site, not just the amount of time workers use the equipment.
Question Five: Is there a damage-waiver fee? If such a fee exists, managers should determine if it is mandatory or optional. It also is a good idea for managers to determine the extent of the damage-waiver coverage.
Sixth question: Are weekly or monthly rates available? Knowing these rates can help managers save hundreds or thousands of dollars annually.
Seven: Does the daily rate last 8 or 24 hours?
And, finally, the eighth question: What training does the rental company provide? Rental companies have a vested interest in providing effective training, but some companies train better than others.
2. Equipment Rental: Asking the Right Questions
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media, with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is asking equipment rental companies the right questions.
Making a case for capital investments is one of the toughest tasks maintenance and engineering managers endure. That challenge has become even more difficult during the recession, as commercial and institutional facilities search for ways to control costs.
Managers know that despite tighter budgets and sometimes reduced workforces, large-scale jobs, including light construction and landscape projects, must go on. Of course, equipment is integral to the success of these projects, so rental companies play a key role in helping managers specify the right equipment for the job and ensure proper training for operators — all while avoiding capital expenditures.
Before operators can take on these projects, managers need to work with rental companies to get answers to a series of questions related to equipment specification and operation, as well as training.
The first question managers need to ask when renting equipment relates to the job. Managers often assume they know the equipment they need based on experience, but rental companies can provide a unique perspective because it is their job to monitor equipment technology advances and determine the proper application for that equipment.
After determining the right equipment for the job, other questions managers should ask rental companies include the following:
*What are the delivery and pick-up costs?
*What type of training does the rental company provide or facilitate?
*What are the terms and conditions of the contract, including insurance coverage?
*What type of maintenance and repair service does the company provide? Many light-construction projects take place at night or during non-business hours. Do companies provide 24-7 service?
*And finally, who is my rental company contact, both in the branch and out in the field? Having a contact person is especially important during an emergency and during non-business hours.
3. Drain-Cleaning: Training Ensures Safe Operations
This is Chris Matt, Associate Editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is key safety considerations during drain-cleaning operations.
Making sure operators follow key safety features is important for any drain-cleaning job, but safety concerns become even more prevalent when renting. When operators use the equipment for the first time or only a couple times throughout the year, they do not have a chance to become familiar with the way the machines function. Regardless of comfort level, operators should read the owner’s and instructions manuals and possibly consider more in-depth training.
Manufacturers of drain-cleaning equipment can be the ones that provide that training. Even if someone is properly trained and comfortable with the equipment, operators need to follow a handful of basic safety measures when cleaning drains, including the following:
• Make sure electric drain-cleaning machines come with an electrical cord that features an equipment-grounding conductor and a grounding plug.
• Ensure the machines have a ground-fault circuit interrupter.
• Use only a three-wire extension cord that has a three-pronged, grounding-type plug.
• Keep loose-fitting clothing away from the cable.
• When using cutter blades, make sure they are securely attached to the cable.
• Do not turn on the machine until the cable is inserted about 5 or 6 feet into the drain line.
When it comes to personal protective equipment, manufacturers recommend using leather gloves — not cloth or rubber, due to the risk of getting caught in the cable — safety glasses, and rubber-soled shoes or boots.
4. Specifying Personnel Lifts
This is Chris Matt, Associate Editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is key considerations in specifying personnel lifts.
The latest generation of lifts offers advanced safety features designed to address the most common safety hazards and violations. The challenge for managers is to specify a lift that meets worker needs while reinforcing the message of safety with appropriate training.
When specifying personnel lifts, managers should not focus only on the safety features related to a specific maintenance task. Instead, they need to focus on all phases of the equipment process to make solid decisions when specifying equipment and training operators and technicians.
These phases start with essential steps before operation, including training, planning, preparation, and inspection.
Key considerations also relate to the actual work period, including the following: properly moving the lift; climbing onto it; wearing personal protective equipment, including fall protection; raising and lowering the platform; checking for overhead obstructions; on-the-job supervision; and moving workers and tools on the elevated platform.
The final set of considerations involves post-operation requirements, including proper cleanup, storage, and security, as well as weekly, monthly, annual, and additional service requirements. Proper cleanup and storage includes removing all tools, equipment and materials from the lift platform and stowing them in lockers or returning them to stores.
The operator also should check safety devices to ensure they are in their out-of-use position and ready for the next user.
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