What to Do if Your Excavator Hits a Gas Line

hit gas line, rupturing gas line

Excavation projects obviously involve digging using an excavator. With the use of a breaker or hoe pack comes the risk of contact with an underground utility line. This includes the possibility of hitting a gas line, which creates a hazardous situation. How should your crew respond in the event an excavator ruptures a gas pipe?

Hitting a Gas Line Hazardous

Even with the best preparation, accidents, such as rupturing a gas line, can and do occur. In St. Cloud, MN, in 1998, a construction crew damaged a gas line that caused a massive fire. 15 people were injured and three buildings went up in flames. This was all due to a cut in a 1 1/8-inch plastic gas line while drilling a hole.

How to Act if You Hit a Gas Line

Protection of life and property is the first priority the minute you recognize damage to a gas line. The supervisor should immediately instruct all crewmembers to remove any ignitable sources from the vicinity. This includes shutting off all gas lights, engines, and electrical devices. Anything that might cause a spark could cause an explosion. Once you evacuate and secure the area, call 911 and the city's local gas service.

Additional Actions to Take

  • Do not fill a bore hole where the pipe was damaged
  • Do not backfill an excavation where the exposed pipe was ruptured
  • Do not try to repair the pipe
  • Do not try to put out any fires that result from leaking gas

Before starting a project, call 811 to identify and mark all utility locations.

Exercise Extreme Caution

When you use one of our excavators, please be mindful of the location and depth of all underground utilities. When you are ready to begin a contracted project, contact Active Excavator Rentals and learn about us. Hitting and rupturing a gas line has the potential to cause bodily injury and death.

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Construction Site Storm Readiness: Prep the Work Zone for Harsh Weather

storm readiness, storm construction

With fall here and winter not far off, formidable weather may be on the horizon. This includes the possibility of harsh storms. Construction site storm readiness is crucial if construction work is to resume. A prepared worksite and crew can prevent delays and downtime.

Keep a Backup Generator

Weather is the primary cause of power outages. If the power goes out, you won't be able to charge your equipment or turn on the lights for evening work. The site should contain an emergency generator capable of providing full power at a minute's notice. The generator should come complete with all the essentials, such as extra fuel tanks, cables, and distribution boxes. Some towable lights also come with their own built-in generators.

Commercial Pumps

Pumps are essential for transferring water and removing sediment. Having an industrial-grade pump on site prevents the area from being inconvenienced by storm floods. Commercial pumps should include drainage pumps and submersible dewatering pumps.

Equipment like excavators can undergo accelerated wear and tear when exposed to water when they're operated. The same goes for breakers and other attachments. Attachments that operate while submerged or exposed to water are at risk of rust.

Heaters

Heaters become more of a necessity in the winter, though it can be just as frosty in fall. Physical labor under cold temperatures can be a morale breaker. An onsite ground heater keeps crewmembers cozy and improves the overall work environment. Furthermore, heaters can also help retain air moisture, which can prevent freshly poured concrete from curing too quickly.

Construction Site Storm Readiness Is a Fall Essential

As the weather cools down, you can expect more undesirable weather that could impede daily operations. Give Active Excavator Rental a call for excavator rentals or to learn more about us. Remember that construction site storm readiness is crucial for excavator operation.

Excavator and Attachment Rental

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A Primer on Construction Daily Reports

construction daily report

Organization is key in the construction industry. This is especially so on the logistical front. Most construction companies require the filing of a construction daily report at the end of a work day. Here's a way to submit an informative report that provides all of the important information.

What Is a Construction Daily Report?

A construction daily report is a report that the construction site manager submits to the office at the end of each work day. It summarizes all of the work that was performed on site that day. The report should be detailed and include the most pertinent information, such as:

  • Completed work
  • Delays and the causes, such as bad weather or machine breakdown
  • Safety incidents and/or onsite injuries
  • Excavator and other equipment usage
  • Damaged equipment and supplies

Sections to Include in a Construction Daily Report

Most construction daily reports these days are done online and shared via the cloud. Various templates are available and free. Software is also available where you can customize your own template.

A general report should include the following sections:

  • Cover page containing the project name, date, and worksite location
  • Job details: this should be detailed and include the specific work done (e.g. demolition, excavation, etc.)
  • Crew List: This should include every crew member present on site that day. Names should be divided into categories according to their team or department.
  • Materials: this includes the quantity at the worksite, the amount used, and the amount remaining.
  • Equipment List: this is similar to the crew list. Include all equipment divided by category. Include the number of hours each equipment was in use. Have a subcategory for attachments, such as breakers and hoe packs.

Need an Excavator?

Learn about us and our extensive inventory. Contact Active Excavator Rentals to enquire about equipment rental. Whether you own or rent machinery and equipment, log its use must in your construction daily report.

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Guidelines for Using an Excavator Around Water

excavators and water

Any construction project that requires an excavator requires precision. This is amplified when operating around water. The close proximity to H2O also accelerates excavator wear. Using an Excavator around water requires specific skills and maintenance procedures.

Excavator Maintenance

Prepping the excavator is vital. The metal components of the excavator are prone to rust and corrosion. So, you will need to regularly grease specific points like the linkage and stick pins. Exposure to water and sand accelerates the loss of lubrication, especially around the pin ends and bushings.

We suggest using lithium grease and perhaps even an autolube system. Lithium grease is suited for both fresh and saltwater conditions and maintains its properties even when submerged in water. We also recommend lubricating at least twice a day, and as often as every hour depending on working conditions.

If you hear any unusual noise in the attachment, that's an indicator that the pins are drying out and need fresh lubrication. 

For the undercarriage, consider using a thixotropic spray. This is the same formula used in ships and offshore drilling rigs. The liquid penetrates the metal surface and prevents the onset of corrosion.

Environmental Considerations

While this may sound like a radical idea, we recommend using vegetable oil in lieu of conventional hydraulic oil because it is non-toxic and biodegradable. However, because vegetable oil breaks down faster, you will need to replace it more often. This will increase operational costs, but you eliminate the risk of environmental damage should a leak occur. You are also not mandated by law to report the leak.

Be Mindful of Excavator Use Around Water

Components from the undercarriage to the breaker and hoe pack are susceptible to water damage. Learn about us and why our excavators are suited for all working environments. Contact Active Excavator Rentals for your next unit rental. Using an excavator around water calls for special precautions. 

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Best Practices for Evening Construction Work

evening construction work, night construction, construction best practice

Conducting construction work at the night has its benefits. For one, it's less of a disruption to motorists since there are fewer cars on the road. The weather is also cooler, which is a big plus in the summer. However, lower visibility is an important factor for evening construction. Here are some best practices for evening construction work.

Visibility Is Key

From sunset on, you have far less natural light to work with. You will need to supply ample lighting at the worksite. The American Traffic Safety Services Association recommends a minimum illuminance of 108 lux if the site contains excavators and other construction equipment.

Light positioning is also important. Be careful not to point the illumination directly at private property or on the road where it can blind drivers.

Wear Reflective Clothing

Require all crew members to wear reflective vests or high-visibility clothing during evening construction work. Flaggers should definitely have some form of reflective material on them. According to the Worker Visibility Final Rule, a provision of the Federal Highway Administration, crew members should don class 2 apparel. This is the minimum requirement; ideally, workers should wear class 3 gear. This is highly recommended for high-risk environments, such as roadways and other heavily congested areas.

Plan for Noise

Safety issues aside, you also have to be mindful of noise disturbances, especially if your site is near a residential area. One best practice is to implement noise barriers that reduce the noise level and vibrations. This includes acoustical enclosures that fully encompass the work zone. For excavator attachments like breakers and hoe packs, add mufflers and silencers.

Increase Productivity with Evening Construction Work

Nighttime construction activity can increase the amount of work completed and ensure that deadlines are met. Contact Active Excavator Rentals for excavator and attachment rentals. Learn about us and our inventory. Evening construction work requires more diligent safety practices.

Excavator and Attachment Rentals

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Summer Excavator Maintenance: Keep Your Equipment Running Under High Temperatures

Engine overheating is common in residential vehicles during the summer. The same goes for construction equipment; the excavator is no exception. Summer excavator maintenance is important for ensuring continued operability and avoiding downtime. Check Fluid Levels Coolant and hydraulic fluids are extremely important during the summer. The coolant expansion reservoir should always be full. This prevents too much air from entering the cooling system. Finally, check the coolant fill location; some bear the label

Engine overheating is common in residential vehicles during the summer. The same goes for construction equipment; the excavator is no exception. Summer excavator maintenance is important for ensuring continued operability and avoiding downtime.

Check Fluid Levels

Coolant and hydraulic fluids are extremely important during the summer. The coolant expansion reservoir should always be full. This prevents too much air from entering the cooling system. Finally, check the coolant fill location; some bear the label "Newer OAT." This stands for 'organic acid technology' and is a type of coolant recommended in newer excavators.

Add Antifreeze

A neat trick is to add antifreeze. Contrary to belief, this fluid isn't just for winter use. It actually keeps the water in the excavator from boiling when the machine is operating under high temperatures. Stick to a single antifreeze solution; do not mix different brands because the mixture may corrode the engine's cooling system.

Lubricate Frequently

Oil begins to soften under high temperatures. This reduces its adhesion and lubrication ability. Apply lubricant often to the excavator and attachments like the breaker and hoe pack. Be sure to use a brand with high heat resistance. 

Clear Debris

Most excavators have an auto-reverse fan function. Operators can also manually reverse the fan. This is important for removing debris and keeping the radiator and cooling packages clear. Also check the engine hood's inlet and outlet pipes for obstructions. 

Remote Monitoring

Thanks to smart technology, many modern construction vehicles have telematics, allowing workers to assess equipment health remotely. With this technology you can monitor the engine temperature and other components for defects.

Don't Eschew Summer Excavator Maintenance

Call Active Excavator Rentals if you require an excavator and/or attachment for an impending project. Learn about us and our commitment to Monroe contractors. Summer excavator maintenance is vital this season for consistent and reliable operation.

Summer Excavator Rentals in Monroe

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Common Causes of Excavator Breakdown

excavator

An excavator breakdown in the middle of the job can be disastrous. You may have to halt all operations, leading to downtime. What are the leading causes of the sudden breakdown of an excavator, and how can you prevent this from happening?

Contaminated Hydraulic Oil

One of the primary causes of excavator breakdown is hydraulic oil contamination. The oil lubricates the moving parts that enable the transfer of power throughout the hydraulic components. Elements like dirt, dust, and water can contaminate the oil, thickening it and causing it to turn to sludge. The pistons and valves become abraded as the contaminated oil surrounds them. Deterioration sets in, and attachments like the breaker and hoe pack can cease functioning altogether.

Regularly check the oil by removing the engine cover and inserting a clean dipstick in the fluid reservoir. If the stick shows grainy particles in the oil, then an oil replacement is long overdue.

Undercarriage Contamination

Excavators typically run on dirt surfaces. As such, the undercarriage is often exposed to pebbles, gravel, and other debris. The debris can get lodged in the idlers, rollers or sprockets, causing premature wear. In some instances, this can cause the wheels or tracks to seize up. 

Though a cumbersome process, operators should clean the undercarriage after each use or at the end of the work day. You can't simply hose down the area. You need a pressure washer to dislodge embedded debris. If a pressure washer is not available, manually scrub the undercarriage using water and a hard-bristle brush.

We Minimize Excavator Breakdown

At Active Excavator Rentals, we maintain all of our excavators before renting them out. Nevertheless, contractors still need to do their part to prevent an unexpected breakdown. Learn about us and the inventory that we keep in working condition. You can prevent excavator breakdown with diligent care.

Excavator Rental for Monroe Contractors

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How to Maintain an Excavator Undercarriage

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At Active Excavator Rentals, we keep our excavators in good operating order. This is especially true of the excavator's undercarriage, which contains multiple moving components. However, while the machine is in their hands, renters should still have a baseline understanding of excavator undercarriage maintenance.

Keep the Undercarriage Clean

We recommend that operators clean the undercarriage at the end of each workday. Use a shovel and/or a pressure washer to remove dirt buildup. Dirt can accelerate wear, especially in cold climate areas. The dirt can freeze and lock up the bolts and rollers.

Check the Undercarriage

Inspect the undercarriage before starting the excavator at the beginning of the day. Inspect the drive motor, track tension, rock guards, drive sprockets, main idlers, and rollers.

We inspect these parts on all of our excavators before renting them out. However, operators should still perform these inspections, especially when working under harsh conditions.

Follow Best Operating Practices

Improper maneuvering can expedite undercarriage wear. Follow these operating guidelines.

  • Avoid sharp turns when possible
  • Minimize time on slopes. If you must spend prolonged sessions on a slope, be sure the drive motor is facing the rear of the machine.
  • Pick the right number of grousers. More grousers increase the track's contact with the floor, thereby reducing vibration and undercarriage wear.

Use the Right Track Tension

Is the track tension appropriate for the surface condition? As a general rule, the tracks should be a little loose, rather than extremely tight, when working in muddy conditions. With steel tracks, the tracks should never be too tight or loose. Otherwise, you run the risk of slipping a track.

Don't Eschew Excavator Undercarriage Maintenance

At Active Excavator Rentals, we maintain all of our excavators and breakers and hoe packs. Nevertheless, operators still need to maintain all of the equipment under their care. Learn about us and our inventory. We adhere to strict industry standards regarding excavator undercarriage care.

Excavator Rentals for Monroe Contractors 

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Why Excavator Operator Training Is Important

excavator operator trainingAdequate excavator operator training is important from a safety standpoint; that's a given. However, it also makes sense from a financial standpoint. A competent operator reduces operation and other overhead costs. We explain why this is so.

Reduce Fuel

One of the best ways to reduce overhead is by cutting down on fuel use. Beginning operators have a tendency to use the highest excavator setting, regardless of the task. This often results in a setting 200 to 300 RPMs higher than necessary. Training operators to adjust settings can cut down on fuel usage by around 10%. Attachments like breakers and hoe packs do not require maximum RPM to operate at their maximum capability.

Most modern excavators also have fuel-saving features, such as auto engine shutdown and auto idle. Make sure operators are acquainted with these features. Continue Reading '