Spoil-Pile Placement and Safety

spoil pileCave-ins are one of the biggest dangers--and leading causes of accidents--in the construction industry. Your spoil-pile can be a contributor to such dangerous accidents. Are you placing your spoil-pile a safe distance from the work site?

Spoil-Pile Explained

'Spoil-pile' is a broad term that refers to a deposit of any excavated material. In most cases, this entails dirt, soil, gravel, and crushed pavement. The pile itself isn't dangerous. However, when someone leaves the pile exceptionally close to a trench, that's when the danger arises. The weight of the spoils can cause the dirt in a nearby trench to cave in. Piles that are exceptionally high can also come tumbling down, causing a mini avalanche. Continue Reading â†'

Excavator Safety Checklist—Safety Protocols Before Commencing a Construction Project

excavator safety checklistSafety protocols absolutely must be in place before operating heavy machinery--no exceptions! Aside from adopting OSHA safety practices and appointing a safety guide, you also need to service your equipment. To ensure good operating condition, do not start any machinery until you go through this excavator safety checklist.

Pre-Operation Excavator Safety Checklist

  • Inspect the construction site to be sure you have enough navigating space for the excavator. The required space will vary depending on whether you're using a zero swing or conventional swing excavator.
  • Verify that the safety clip and locking pins are in place before starting the excavator.
  • Test the boom arm as well as the breaker and hoe pack. Look for excessive upward or downward movement in the arm. You should also listen for unusual squeaky noises.
  • Check the undercarriage for wear and tear in the rollers, track links, idler wheels, and sprockets.
  • Pop open the engine bay and inspect the oil dipstick. Do this every four hours of operation.

Continue Reading â†'

Excavator Attachments at a Glance (Part 2)

excavator attachmentsIf you haven't already done so, please read February's post for part one list of excavator attachments. This is part two which introduces additional attachments. With part one and part two, you will have a full list of the attachments at your disposal.

Common Excavator Attachments

Plate Compactor: This attachment does exactly what its name suggests. Plate compactors compact the soil and earth, eliminating the need to compact by hand. The addition of shock mounts helps distribute the force evenly even when compacting on a slope surface.

Rippers: A ripper is an attachment that rips through tough, compact, and frozen surfaces. It does this with tremendous ripping power and rugged force not possible from manual human labor alone. Operators often use rippers to loosen the ground before removing the debris with a bucket attachment.

Trenchers: Use a trencher attachment for creating trenches in even the most compact and rocky soils. Different chain and teeth options are available to accommodate various soil conditions. Trenchers are ideal for landscaping, irrigation, and utility-based projects. Continue Reading â†'

Excavator Attachments at a Glance (Part 1)

excavator attachmentsYou can't complete complex projects relying on a single excavator attachment. In previous posts, we have discussed the different types of excavators and how these machines work. This time, we want to talk about the various excavator attachments and their respective applications. Due to the numerous attachments available, this post will be divided into two parts.

Five Common Excavator Attachments

Breaker: The breaker and hoe pack utilizes a sharp or blunt drill to break apart massive concrete or stone blocks. Contractors rely on breaker attachments for interior and flatwork demolition, as well as for road repair work.

Bucket: Most laypeople are familiar with this attachment. This is the gigantic scoop with "teeth" at the end. Contractors use the bucket to remove debris, ranging from earth to the small blocks which result from using a breaker.

Augers: Augers utilize immense torque power to drill holes into rocky hard soil. It can also penetrate clay, frost, rock, and shale. Augers are ideal for creating steep holes for planting trees or installing posts and poles. Continue Reading â†'

Excavators 101: General Information for New Contractors

excavatorsWith a New Year comes new startups. Many new contractors are taking on their first major projects. Newcomers in the industry may not be completely familiar with some of the machinery they'll be using. Consider this an "Excavators 101" post for newbie contractors and sub-contractors.

Parts of an Excavator

Excavators are composed of these following components: House, bucket, stick, and boom.

  • House--this is the part that contains the engine, oil, and fuel.
  • Bucket--the attachment consisting of an enlarged scoop for digging and removing debris. The bucket may be switched out with the breaker and hoe pack for breaking apart rock and concrete.
  • Stick--the elongated component that lifts the bucket.
  • Boom--the "neck" that connects the stick to the main excavator body

Continue Reading â†'

2018 New Year’s Resolutions for Contractors

resolutions for contractorsAs a contractor, your business's New Year's resolution is simple: increase revenue while lowering overhead. You can partly achieve the latter by learning about us and renting excavators at our agency. We'll outline a few other New Year's resolutions for contractors working out of Monroe.

Contractors Should Consider These New Year's Resolutions

1. Invest in Marketing

Have you heard of the phrase "to make money you have to spend money?" This is true in any line of business. For 2018, consider creating a company website if you don't already have one. This will create new leads much more than you can acquire from word-of-mouth alone. With a website, you'll also have to invest in SEO and high-quality content. Continue Reading â†'

Holiday Business Operations? An Important Question

Holiday Business OperationsAs an independent construction contractor, you dictate the hours of operation of your business. With Christmas fast approaching, this leads to the question: should you engage in holiday business operations?

Considerations When Operating Your Business Near Holidays

Some businesses operate within one or two days of major holidays. Others even decide to operate under limited hours on holidays in order to expedite the completion of important projects. By holidays, we're not just talking about major ones like Christmas and Thanksgiving. We're also talking about other pertinent events of the year, such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, President's Day, Martin Luther King Day, and so on. Continue Reading â†'

Four Free 3D Modeling Software Solutions for Contractors

3D modeling softwareBefore partaking in the actual demolition and excavation of a site, contractors need to create a blueprint of what they plan to build. Historically, this was accomplished using hand-drawn sketches. Currently, contractors have access to various construction software programs. We'll analyse the top four free 3D modeling software for contractors.

Best 3D Modeling Software for Construction Projects

1. 3D Crafter

3D Crafter utilizes an intuitive drag-and-drop system for creating various 3D models and sculptures. This is a good choice for developing anything from low-polygon models to more detailed 3D renderings. Developing 3D models such as this also enables users to determine the tools and type of excavators or breakers they will need for the project. Continue Reading â†'

How to Prevent an OSHA Audit

OSHA auditOsha audits can appear out of the blue. If your construction business isn't up to regulation, you can expect a hefty fine. How can you prevent a Department of Labor auditor from showing up and interrupting business operations? We'll explain why an OSHA audit occurs and how you can minimize the chances of an out-of-nowhere inspection.

Why OSHA Audits Occur

The Department of Labor consists of two subdivisions: OSHA and the Wages and Hour Division (WHD). OSHA oversees federal safety compliance laws. OSHA audits may be random or a response to an employee or client report of a potential safety violation. The average fine for a first-time offense is $12,000. Repeated violations can easily exceed that amount.

WHD, as you can probably guess, oversees worker salary to ensure employers are meeting salary and overtime pay requirements. Continue Reading â†'

Noise Control Methods for the Construction Industry

Noise Control in ConstructionConstruction sites aren't exactly an area for peace and quiet. While loud noise is inevitable, you can keep it to a reasonable volume. We'll introduce some noise control measures for construction zones. This keeps complaints to a minimum while also protecting workers from future hearing loss.

Why Noise Control in Construction Zones Matters

Continued exposure to noise levels above 90 dBA can cause hearing loss. If you have to shout to speak to someone at an arm's length distance, then noise levels are too high.

Use a decibel meter to determine the noise volume. Set up noise perimeter zones where the volume exceeds 90 dBA. You should also designate all hard-hat areas as noise perimeter zones. Only staff working at the moment should be within this zone, and they should be wearing hearing protection. Continue Reading â†'