By Thomas A. Westerkamp
Equipment Rental & Tools Article Use Policy
Despite the best efforts of maintenance and engineering managers to provide a comprehensive arsenal of equipment and tools to support their departments' daily activities, the need occasionally arises to rent a piece of equipment.
Common equipment managers rent for commercial and institutional facilities includes emergency-cooling units, aerial work platforms, and light-construction equipment. Managers use these rented units to supplement the in-house arsenal of tools that allow departments to accomplish their goals.
But before signing any rental agreement, managers need to take several important steps to ensure the process results in enhanced worker productivity, cost-effective equipment operation, and a successful project.
Gathering data for rental equipment requires careful planning. It is not simply a matter of size, speed, horsepower or initial cost. Each situation creates a different set of considerations before selecting the equipment.
For example, if the rental relates to emergency cooling, the manager will have to calculate the cooling load based on space, equipment and people served, as well as safety considerations, such as proper electrical service, plug location, grounding, breaker capacity, and backup-generator availability in case of a power outage.
For aerial work platforms, managers need to consider capacity, work-platform size, and vertical lift and reach. They also must plan for safety accessories, such as fall-protection hookups and grounded power at the platform for tool use.
Outside work often takes place in locations where the equipment operator must position the lift on uneven ground, making tipping a very real possibility. So to prevent an accident and possible injuries, managers need to investigate safety requirements, including stabilizers, levelers, and tie-offs, depending on the job needs.
Aside from these more commonly rented pieces of equipment, managers have access to a huge inventory of special-purpose equipment to consider when special, one-time, or extended needs arise. These specialized pieces of equipment include:
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