Freezing Best Practices – Rental Management Magazine | NutSocia

When the thermometer dips below freezing, there are many things that equipment and event rental companies need to worry about for both employees and customers, including clearing snow, slipping and falling on the ice, risk of frostbite and risk of hypothermia. Some can be annoying; some may cause injury or worse.

For the cover story of this month’s safety issue, we asked some American Rental Association (ARA) members from the state of Minnesota and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta — people who know a thing or two about cold extremes — to share their tips and Best practices for safe operations in key areas of a rental operation during the coldest times of the year.

Employee. “All of our ground staff and drivers are required to wear 2-in. reflective safety vests; This is an action we took when Sunbelt Rentals bought our business,” said Jason Cox, Director of Sales and Business Development, Whites Location Equipment Supply West, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, a company that serves location divisions that are tasked with managing locations for film production studios.

“Because it gets wet, cold and with little sunshine in the autumn and winter, our drivers wear high-visibility winter jackets provided by the company. We are very concerned about safety and have seen a dramatic drop on the injury front because of visibility,” he says.

Cox’s company also uses a “Take 10” process — a task-planning card that every employee must fill out and show to a manager before the job. The card confirms the employee’s understanding of the potential risks of the job, such as exposure or slip/fall hazards, and the precautions the employee has taken to minimize the risk, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and other control measures.

Winter clothing and groomed habits are also a must for employees at Castle Rentals & Welding Supplies, Edson, Alberta, Canada, which rents equipment ranging from generators, light towers and air compressors to aerial work platforms, skid steer loaders and attachments.

“We replace and monitor winter clothing such as coats, coveralls, gloves and work boots,” says Erin Brochu, the company’s owner/manager. “We also make sure that employees work in pairs outside in the yard or on the construction site, stay fed and rested and take their break times.”

Brochu says she and her staff are also careful to monitor the outdoor wind chill factor, which makes the “perceived” temperature much colder than the actual air temperature and accelerates the rate at which the body loses heat.

facilities. “We make sure that all doors and exits are properly sealed, and we perform regular maintenance on our heating system,” says Brochu, highlighting the importance of heat conservation from both a safety and energy efficiency standpoint.

Elsewhere at her facility, Brochu and her team “show up at the store early to shovel, sand, or salt parking lots,” she says, adding that while many of their winter practices are part of a formal, written safety program, others are “like that.” seem logical that it is unwritten. Those are the ones you forget.”

job boards. Given the prospect of outdoor jobs in the winter, the Broadway Tent and Event, Minneapolis team would rather avoid them altogether. “The best course of action in ‘Minnesnowta’ is to stay indoors and handle trade show booths and corporate table and chair orders,” said Tim Sandahl, the company’s office manager.

“But if we have to do a tent job, we need two weeks before and two weeks after to choose the best day. The site must be cleared of snow before arrival, with access. If the temperature falls below zero, we will stop construction or go on strike for safety reasons. We have found that the tent vinyl is prone to cobweb cracking when we handle it in temperatures below 10 degrees,” says Sandahl.

“Staking out occasionally requires pre-drilling. Our manufacturer built a couple of snow rakes that are tent vinyl safe – wrapped in carpet – for snow removal. Snow load can be a problem here. We keep a large stock of salt/sand mix for ice removal and traction issues; We remove ice [to minimize] slips and damage to equipment, and delivery travel times are adjusted to accommodate the slower traffic,” says Sandahl.

Heaters and related accessories are a necessity, say Sandahl and his general equipment associate, Zack Peterson, branch manager, A1 Rent It, Brooklyn Park, Minn.

“We put a tent heater in the back of our van for the guys and tent vinyl to keep warm, and our entire camp is indoors and heated at the venue,” says Sandahl, adding that the company “provides antifreeze.” with water pumps and carpet cleaners.”

Reliance on safe and work-specific heating methods is also important to Cox and the location equipment specialists at Whites Location Supply. “Heating and keeping warm is paramount on any film set. We offer electric, propane and diesel; We recognize the unique needs and solutions for multiple sites with different sensitivities,” says Cox.

Vehicles. “We use Garmin Inreach,” Brochu says of the vehicles in her fleet, referring to the technology maker’s line of handheld satellite communications devices with GPS navigation that offer two-way text messaging, among other features.

Brochus riders not only use technical resources to keep an eye on each other in dangerous weather conditions, but also use common sense methods to stay safe.

“We conduct daily checks and tours of trucks hauling equipment and include winter safety kits in vehicles that include extra snacks, blankets, flares, jumper cables, water, shovel, flashlight and first aid kit,” she says.

Customers. “We sell quite a lot of melted ice to customers in the winter,” says Cox. “Urea is very popular here in Vancouver. It’s what they use at the airport. It has no conductivity, which is good for cables on film sets. We also offer an eco-friendly version as we know urea is not the best solution around sensitive areas. We also rent hard hats, safety vests, wrists/ankles [protection], steel-toed slippers, crash barriers, flashlights, stop/slow paddles, road signs and traffic control barricades. We make sure we sell hand warmers too,” he says.

Cox’s company also gears customers up for cold-weather safety in style. “On the swag front, we often give out toques and hoodies. It’s nice,” he says.

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