What You Need To Know About Façade Maintenance

If you make the right decision about timely façade maintenance, it’s easy to avoid eventual replacement or repair of the components, which are unlikely to be reasonably priced. Facades don’t need daily maintenance and usually stay intact for many years before showing the first signs of decay.

Unfortunately, when the signs do appear, it may be too late to do any preventive maintenance and save money. That’s why any commercial building owner should set up a maintenance schedule, organize inspections, and deal with minor problems timely. Renting height access equipment from a respectable company can simplify the process.

  1. Start With An Inspection

Building managers should inspect the building’s current condition. It should include reviewing the original design of the building as well as the documentation of the previous repairs. Then a simple visual inspection is performed. A report of the inspection should be made to ensure a proper maintenance schedule setup.

  1. Discuss Each Issue Separately

Each problem with the façade requires evaluation to understand which one needs immediate attention. For example, such safety issues as crumbling masonry must be dealt with first. Minor façade cracks can be left off for later.

  1. Establish A Schedule

Once the work scope is identified, you can establish a repair and maintenance schedule according to the budget. The schedule should include maintenance of the potential problem areas as well as repair of immediate issues.

While establishing a schedule, you should learn the expected material deterioration time and lifespan information.

  1. Arrange Façade Cleaning

Façade cleaning is not just an integral part of its maintenance, it can keep your building looking appealing while allowing the cleaners to identify the problem if any. It’s important to clean the façade before each inspection in order not to have dirt and grime interfere with identifying the problem areas.

After the restoration and repairs are done, additional cleaning is required to remove the unwanted material residue. The only reason why you shouldn’t clean the façade before the repair is if the problem you are dealing with are leaks.

  1. Hire Professional Repairmen

It’s the owner’s responsibility to follow the state Construction Codeto keep the building in good shape. So it’s important to hire repairmen, who are familiar with the state requirements. Trying to save on façade repair can lead to unfortunate consequences.

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4 Fall Hazards You Should Prepare For

Falls from height are a common workplace injury for many companies practicing projects involving height access. Construction workers, roof repairmen, window cleaners, harvesters, and many more employees risk their lives every day.

Even though the height access equipment is becoming safer and safer every year while the fall protection gear is improving even faster, some workers still manage to risk their lives needlessly. The reason is not the lack of equipment but an improper understanding of possible fall hazards.

Each employer must provide their workers with adequate training and information about such hazards. The tendency to rush the work process often leaves people vulnerable to seemingly obvious worksite problems.

  1. Low Height Is A Hazard

While everyone knows that falls from heights are dangerous, not many workers consider such heights as 2 feet as problematic. However, falls from lower heights can cause terrible consequences, including death. The body doesn’t have the time to react to the fall before it hits the ground.

It’s highly important to be aware that working at any height is a risk. Awareness is the key to safety, even if you are washing the windows on the first floor.

  1. Skylights

Workers often overlook skylights, deeming them far from being dangerous. However, they forget that skylights aren’t made to withstand a person’s weight. Even though the surface may seem solid, essentially, skylights are holes.

Sometimes skylights blend in with the surroundings so well that workers have no idea what surface they are standing on. Guardrails and safety nets can prevent falling through skylights. Meanwhile, workers should have a plan of the building in order to know where skylights are located.

  1. Deteriorating Materials

Fiber-cement roofs and other fragile surfaces are frequent causes of falls and serious injuries. Meanwhile, deteriorating surfaces are even more dangerous. With fragile materials, a fall can be prevented by acquiring the right information. Deteriorating materials are often unnoticeable until it’s too late.

It’s highly important to raise the awareness about possible deterioration. Workers should test the surfaces before stepping on them. A smart approach is to consider all the roofs fragile. The best way to avoid injuries is to work from a height access platform instead of stepping on the fragile surfaces.

  1. Falling Objects

Working at heights involves numerous tools and materials. These tools and materials are a fall hazard. Workers or the people walking near the worksite may be injured by such objects.

Preventing tools and materials from falling is easy by using tool cords and aerial platforms with space to keep them inside a basket.

 

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Winter Height Access Reassessment

Winter is already here, and the weather conditions are changing at the speed of light. New York and other Northeastern states experience chilly, slippery, and icy weather conditions. Heavy snowfalls aren’t rare in December. Roads get blocked, happy school kids get days off, and homeowners get an excellent shoveling exercise.

In construction, window cleaning, façade repair, and other businesses that require height access, the work never stops. Since time is money, taking a break is hardly possible. When you are forced to work in winter, you need to prepare for the project in a different manner than you would in other seasons.

Unfortunately, many companies ignore the weather condition changes and continue working as they usually do. As a result, they risk the welfare of their workers and the integrity of their height access equipment. Let’s discuss the important points of winter height access reassessment.

  1. A Higher Risk Of Slips

As the weather worsens, the surfaces get slippery. Even though the workers carry numerous safety equipment, the increased number of slips and falls can delay the work process even if everyone stays safe in the end.

It’s important to consider the tripping and slipping hazards and teach the workers to react accordingly. The overall speed of the project may be reduced, but not as much as it would with constant slipping.

  1. The Weight Of Snow

Snow adds a certain weight to the construction equipment, especially when it falls heavily. You have to reconsider the weight limits with the snow in mind. Cleaning the height access equipment on a regular basis is vital to keeping it working properly after a snowfall.

  1. Hazardous Conditions

Even though the majority of high-quality height access equipment can do its job regardless of the weather, it’s important to assess the conditions before allowing the workers to go on site. Heavy snow and strong winds can drastically decrease the output while making the work truly dangerous.

Another thing to consider in the winter is low temperatures. Even though OSHA doesn’t provide a framework for the weather conditions, the Occupational Safety And Health Act (1970)states that employers must protect workers from recognized hazards, including cold stress, which can lead to serious harm.

Overall, it’s up to the employer to care about the workers’ safety in the winter. In the majority of cases, striving to work in bad conditions leads to unsatisfactory results while endangering the employees.

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Aerial Lift Maintenance Information

Aerial equipment often becomes the only tool you can rely on to perform certain jobs, including servicing cables, washing windows, painting buildings, harvesting fruits, and much more. No matter which purpose you use the lifts for and how often you do it, proper maintenance is a must.

In fact, performing timely maintenance for an aerial lift is often more critical than for any other equipment since it’s exploited at substantial heights, thus needing to be as safe as possible. One seemingly insignificant maintenance mistake could cost workers their lives.

Whether you own the height-access machinery or rent it, you have to comply with the federal laws and industry guidelines in order to have the equipment safe and in working order.

What Are The Risks?

When working with heavy machinery, the risk of accidents and severe injuries is high. A faulty outrigger, an oil leak or defective lifting controls can lead to unfortunate consequences. Damaged guardrails and slippery floors may result in deathly falls.

All off the above can be avoided if you keep to the maintenance schedule. In fact, maintaining an aerial lift doesn’t take too much time. Just a few minutes a day can help avoid risky situations, such as falls, tip-overs, and electrocutions.

Following The Standards

In order to ensure the proper safety and flawless operation of your aerial lift, you need to follow American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. Both of them help you set up the right maintenance and inspection schedule for your equipment.

ANSI defines the inspection frequency and gives directions to follow when performing the inspections. All of them should be done by professionals. By law, you should arrange inspections after 150 hours of equipment work or 90 days, whichever occurs first.

Plan your maintenance based on the average operations hours. Remember that different types of height-access equipment may require different inspection schedules.

OSHA lists aerial lift maintenance requirements. It’s important to read the manual to find the manufacturer’s recommendations as well. OSHA also offers extensive information about height-access equipment safety in order to set a proper maintenance schedule. It gives daily inspection checklists for different equipment types.

If you are renting an aerial lift, don’t hesitate to ask the company about the inspection schedule and compliance in order to avoid unexpected problems.

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5 Ways Keep Your Aerial Equipment Safe From Robbers

Aerial lifts, platforms, and the like are expensive pieces of machinery, which often seem appealing to criminals. Since this equipment stays on work sites overnight, it’s highly important to think about protection.

Whether you own the height-access equipment or rent it, it’s your responsibility to keep it safe while in use. Even if you have a large project, it’s possible to take advantage of simple security measures to ensure aerial equipment safety.

  1. Make A List And Check It Twice

If you just have one machine working at the site, you don’t have to worry about losing track of it. However, sizeable projects often require dozens of aerial equipment pieces installed at different locations.

Make a list of all the machines working at your site and keep a record of incoming and outgoing equipment. Pay special attention to the parts, which are easy to remove.

Check the list on a regular basis. Make sure the operators inspect each machine before use. Removing essential parts can endanger all workers at the site.

  1. Install Cameras

Installing cameras can ward the robbers off your site. Make sure some cameras are visible and use “camera protected” signs.  Together with the cameras, you can opt for motion sensors that trigger alerts, emergency lights, and an alarm system.

A large “no trespassing” sign is another way to keep unwanted people away from the territory. Fence the location if possible.

  1. Secure The Equipment

While you are taking safety measures on the location site, think of securing the machines as well. While installing an alarm on each piece of equipment is not always possible, a simple lock and key system can keep your machines safe.

When you are renting the equipment, make sure to talk to the company about security options available for it.

  1. Mark Your Machines

If you mark your machines with stickers, it could be helpful for the recovery efforts in case the equipment is stolen. Use hard-to-remove makings, which make the machines easy to identify. All expensive tools should be marked in the same manner.

  1. Hire A Guard

A person guarding the territory is often more helpful that numerous security technologies. A professional guard can keep the territory safe at all times, prevent break-ins or call for assistance when necessary.

Aerial lifts require special security regardless of the

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Which Aerial Lift Should I Rent?

The ability to rent an aerial lift for a height-access project has simplified the work of many companies over the years. The renting party usually gives advice about proper lift rental, delivers the equipment to the work site, keeps it in mint condition, and arranges transportation from the site. However, it’s up to the manager to evaluate the project and consider which aerial lift types are most suitable. Aerial lifts aren’t manufactured specifically for a certain type of industry or job. For example, manufacturing companies can use these lifts to reach overhead details. Window cleaning companies use them to wash windows on high-rise buildings. General contractors take advantage of aerial lifts to get to hard-to-reach repair areas. Construction companies usually can’t do their work without several types of aerial lifts. Other workers using aerial lifts are emergency crews, HVAC contractors, advertisers hanging banners, and many more. So which aerial lift should you rent? Going over the common lift types can help you understand which one is the best for your project.

  • Electric Scissor Lift – This lift can move up and down, which makes it more flexible than scaffolding. The working heights of electric scissor lifts vary so always check the specs before renting.
  • Rough Terrain Scissor Lift– As the name implies, this aerial lift is created to deal with rough terrain and harsh environmental elements. These lifts are usually rented for construction projects.
  • Personnel Lift – These lifts are suitable for projects that require one person to use it. The height of such lift reaches 26 feet. They are highly useful for indoor tasks.
  • Electric Boom Lift– These lifts have a platform, which can move horizontally and vertically. It can provide an impressive reach and better versatility than the majority of other aerial lift types.
  • Straight Telescopic Boom Lift – Such lifts are mostly used outdoors. They are great for reaching tough areas in places where scaffolding is useless.
  • Towable Boom Lift– A truck can tow these lifts in order to transport them between the work sites within one project.
  • Atrium Lift – These lifts can fold to have a compact size, allowing them to pass through a doorway. Then the lift opens up to reach formidable heights.

Knowing which lift to rent can simplify your project and keep you from making unnecessary payments. You can always test a model first in order to see if it gives you the results you are looking for.

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4 Mistakes Companies Make When Renting Aerial Equipment

Modern aerial work platforms allow technicians to have an easier access to hard-to-reach areas on various buildings. The equipment capacity can be maximized if the managers take the time to learn about common mistakes. Avoiding them can extend the life of the machines while optimizing the work process. Mistakes made when renting aerial equipment may turn out to be costly for both parties. Such problems can be avoided by preventing them.

  1. Ignoring Hazards

Many managers forget to learn about the potential hazards associated with aerial work equipment. Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advises that these hazards include falls, falling objects, collapses, electrocution, contacting moving objects, contacting overhead objects. In many cases, two or more of these hazards are present. Ignoring them can lead to lethal consequences and damage to the equipment.

  1. Lack Of Training

A simple way to avoid the above hazards is to provide proper training to the technicians before they start working with aerial platforms. Unfortunately, some companies believe that the technicians already know the safety rules. OSHA recommends arranging training and re-training sessions for workers on a regular basis. Different aerial equipment may have different hazards. If technicians know how to work with a boom lift, it doesn’t mean they can deal with truck mounted platforms just as easily.

  1. Overlooking Functional Requirements

Not all aerial equipment is created equal. Choosing the right machine for the job involves understanding its functional requirements as well as the needs of a certain project. Managers often make a mistake of thinking that one aerial equipment can deal with numerous tasks. However, one project may require two or more different machines. It’s highly important to understand the height requirements of a project. One of the most common reasons for falls is workers reaching out from the platform to get to a high spot. Renting a piece of aerial equipment, which is longer than you need, is a hazard as well. Lowering the lift too much may result in an imbalance issue and tip-overs.

  1. Failing To Get A Consultation

Companies, which rent the aerial equipment, are always ready to provide an extensive consultation on the type of machines you may need for your project. Even if you believe that you know which equipment is right for you, don’t avoid a consultation. You are likely to learn something important.

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4 Types Of Fall Protection Systems

When it comes working at heights, even the best height-access equipment can’t keep workers from using other safety systems. federal OSHA and state regulations dictate certain safety options to protect workers against falls. Occupations, which involve working at heights, are among the most dangerous in the world. That’s why many steps are taken to ensure fall protection.

In different industries, such as construction, façade repair, painting or window cleaning, the employer has to prevent accidents by providing a safe work environment. Part of this environment is the fall protection equipment and training. It’s important to be aware of the fall protection laws in your state in order to provide workers with an adequate training course.

There are several categories of fall protection according to OSHA.

  1. Fall Arrest System

Fall arrest systems are needed when the fall hazard is present. OSHA’s definition of a fall hazard is usually a possibility of drop from the height of four feet or more from a working surface to a lower level. The fall arrest equipment is an anchor point, body harness, and a connector.

  1. Positioning

The positioning system lets the worker sit in the harness without holding on with one or two hands. Meaning, both hands are free to work. This system is used together with the fall arrest system since it can’t prevent a fall on its own.

  1. Retrieval

A retrieval or rescue plan is an integral part of any fall protection plan. The plan features actions, which need to be taken after a worker has fallen. OSHA doesn’t give exact instruction on how to draft such a plan, but it must be present.

  1. Suspension

Suspension equipment can lower and support the worker while the hands are free for work. The system is usually employed by window cleaners and façade painters. The suspension system must be used together with a fall arrest system.

Following OSHA requirements can keep the workers safe at different heights. In the majority of cases, deaths and injuries due to falls happen because of improper planning, damaged equipment or failing to follow regulations. It is up to the employer to ensure the 100% safety of the worker.

OSHA has more safety regulations for work at different heights. Each construction, window cleaning, and façade repair company has to follow the regulations and, if possible, suggestions.

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The Basics Of Health And Safety For Working At Heights

Providing equipment for height access is a task, which makes the company responsible for the quality of the machines and the training of the operator. Working at heights requires the knowledge of health and safety basics, which are vital to completing the project on time and keeping all the parties involved happy and safe.

At Alpha Platforms, we would like to share these basics with anyone, who is planning height access manipulations in the nearest future.

Sharing The Responsibility

Who is responsible for the safety on the site? The renting party, the hirer and the user are. Both are responsible for ensuring the proper equipment is used and operated according to the instructions. Good planning coupled with proper operator’s training can ensure efficiency, increase productivity, and minimize risk.

Planning And Organizing

All operations at heights require proper supervision. The supervisor has to check that the job was properly discussed with the operators and other workers to make sure everyone is aware of the risks as well as the work plan.

In order to choose the right equipment for the job, all the risks have to be discussed in advance. Risk assessment, method statement, and an emergency rescue plan must be in place.

Training

All height-access equipment operators must be adequately trained. Proper training doesn’t just reduce the chances of accidents, it can enhance awareness and save money. If you are renting height-access equipment, the company is responsible for providing a trained operator. It’s your responsibility to check the credentials.

Even the most experienced equipment operator needs some time to familiarize himself with the new equipment.

Risk Assessment

A full risk assessment must be done before starting the work at heights. It’s important to discuss such things as ground condition, weather conditions (wind speed), operator training and safety, and equipment maintenance. It’s integral to maintain a distance when working with power lines since they often become a cause for accidents and deaths.

Emergency Assistance

It’s important to have a plan for emergency rescue situations when people are working at heights. A quick reaction to someone, who is in trouble when high up, can make a difference between life and death as well as sustained injuries.

A rescue plan must be worked out carefully so, in case of an emergency, it could be carried out quickly and safely.

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Choosing The Right Height-Access Equipment: Part 2

We continue looking at different types of height-access equipment in order to help you make the right decision.

  1. Boom Lifts

Boom lifts are more versatile than all the above types because they allow vertical and horizontal movement. They come in telescopic and articulated varieties. These lifts are perfect for reaching over obstacles and bringing the workers to hard-to-reach spots at various sites.

Boom lifts provide excellent maneuverability. So if your project involves maneuvering around objects, they are a good choice. They reach up to 130 feet. For comparison, the majority of scissor lifts have a maximum reach of 50 feet.

The downsides of using boom lifts include small platforms, which can hold only a few workers, and high costs.

Choosing The Right Equipment

When choosing the best equipment for your project, you need to consider the following parameters:

  • The height of the job– big heights narrow down your choice substantially.
  • How much equipment you need– not all methods allow bringing heavy equipment.
  • What type of ground you will work on– the evenness of the terrain can be a deciding factor in the choice of equipment.
  • Are there any obstacles– if you need to maneuver around and over obstacles, you can easily choose the right equipment.
  • The available space– your choice depends on how much space you can use for the equipment
  • Required training– some equipment requires special training in order to be operated properly. Meanwhile, workers should have special training for working at heights in order to take advantage of some of the equipment.

While you are considering all of the above factors, you need to think about quality and safety. Outdated and malfunctioning equipment can result in traumas and deaths.

Another factor to consider is the budget. Purchasing height-access equipment is often a costly endeavor, which many businesses can’t handle. In order to cut costs, you may want to consider height-access equipment rental. At Alpha Platforms, we have a variety of equipment for numerous purposes. Our experts are always ready to offer extensive consultations on which equipment suits your project the best.