Finally, managers need to pay attention, both before and after the purchase, to a topic many tend to overlook, again in favor of cost considerations — worker safety.
"Safety is critical in operating any equipment, particularly electric-powered cable machines where the operator is actually handling a rotating cable often in wet or damp conditions," Woodhead says. Ground-fault circuit interruptors "on the power side and foot valves to shut down the drum have improved safety."
Silverman says managers also should make sure technicians operating drain-cleaning equipment have and use personal protective equipment, including eye wear and gloves. Specifically, he says, operators should use leather gloves when handling spinning cables. Rubber gloves can get caught on the cable and lead to injuries. If operators want to use rubber gloves to avoid having wet hands for long periods of time, they can put on leather gloves over rubber gloves, he says.
Managers also can inquire about operator-training options manufacturers offer. For example, Brown says her company offers a training facility in which managers and technicians can spend time becoming familiar with equipment, then take that knowledge back to the rest of the staff.
Woodhead also advises managers to understand who is going to train the operators and who trained the trainer to ensure training is accurate and effective.
"Training is often handed down from operator to operator and none have had any formal training," he says. "Many companies just have their local sales reps do the training. You need to know how qualified your supplier is when they offer to do the training."
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PRODUCT FOCUS: Drain-Cleaning Equipment