Any builder knows that their machinery is the most expensive part of their business. Yet many allow these vehicles to be ignored, abused and potentially damaged. It only takes a four-point plan to be sure that your valuable backhoes, cranes, and other equipment won’t be damaged on your next job.
You can get unskilled labor for many things. Yet when it comes to operating big machinery, the drivers must know what they are doing. The average backhoe operator or forklift driver may not have been trained in their job. Even crane operators are sometimes unfamiliar with the machinery they are asked to operate.
This is not just a matter of how well the job is done. Mistakes can lead to safety issues, a real nightmare for your bottom line. The same errors may need to be corrected, leading to overtime which also affects your budget.
Industrial mats protect the surface from damage. This isn’t just for the environment, although it is one reason to use them. The mat’s absorption of a crane’s movements helps keep everything around the crane still. These vibrations can cause damage, shaking foundations and disturbing piles.
There’s another good reason for these mats. They keep machinery from getting stuck in the mud or creating the conditions that lead to mud. This leads to a more productive jobsite. There’s little or no downtime due to the need to pull a vehicle out of the muck.
These mats can also be laid down as a portable roadway and a staging area. This further protects equipment, and it keeps trucks from getting bogged down. Having enough to cover the area is key. Trying to make do by moving these mats to new areas is difficult because they are so heavy.
Keeping the machinery in good working condition is vital to the success of a construction project. Yet many managers ignore problems until there’s a breakdown. It is better to pay a fee up front for maintenance than to risk an expensive repair in the middle of an important job.
Ideally there would be someone on the team who could monitor each crane, backhoe, forklift or other equipment. They would know engine repair and be watching for damage. At the very least, good record-keeping can warn managers about when equipment may need to be inspected and perhaps repaired.
At the beginning of each job, picture-taking can quickly document the condition of machinery. This is so easy with the use of smartphones. The pictures can be filed and referenced as the job proceeds. Taking pictures regularly may catch a problem in the making. It may show a loose or missing bolt, a slipping belt or other obvious change in the equipment.
It’s true that many safety protocols seem like overkill. However, being lax never works out well. Just one accident can cost thousands in court costs or workers comp or both.
While this is a human issue, it’s also a business one. Often injuries are caused by the large equipment on a construction site. This can be expensive if the accident ruins the crane or backhoe. Time lost to repairs can seriously set back the schedule.
All in all, prevention is key to keeping the most expensive equipment in good shape. Every effort to maintain it is money saved in the long run.