When it comes to aerial equipment longevity, preventative maintenance is key – a statement that shouldn’t surprise anyone in our industry.
Talking about and encouraging preventative maintenance procedures is easy, but many rental yards fail to practice what they preach. Preventative maintenance can be costly in the short-term, which is why it’s often neglected or put off even though it’s the easiest way to keep those scissor lifts and boom lifts in top working shape.
This short overview of preventative maintenance will teach you easy, manageable maintenance tips and techniques that lead to extended aerial equipment longevity.
Hire Good Mechanics
Scheduling routine maintenance can save your rental yard money, especially if you are able to hire in-house mechanics. Mechanics who have frequent contact with machines will know if something is amiss right away, as they’ll be familiar with how the machine typically sounds and performs.
It is crucial that each mechanic is certified to work on the aerial lifts they’re fixing. Mechanics should also have access to service trucks that allow them to visit customers who have on-site breakdowns. If it can’t be fixed in the field, your rental yard should replace the machine and bring the broken one back to your shop for repairs.
Can’t Find a Good Mechanic?
If finding a good mechanic is a challenge for your aerial equipment rental yard, consider recruiting from a competitor or calling upon the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for advice.
It’s not uncommon for rental yards to hire a mechanic with less experience so long as there is a veteran on-hand to train them. Most importantly, your rental yard should foster a positive environment where mechanics can learn, grow, and become specialized in areas that will add value to your business.
Create a Preventative Maintenance Plan
If you’ve already hired skilled mechanics, it’s time to consider your maintenance plan. Your plan should mirror guidelines set by American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the manufacturer of the aerial lifts.
Document your plan and keep it as an official guide. Include it in new mechanic training materials. Remember to specify when maintenance should be conducted and what should be checked.
When should you conduct preventative maintenance?
- Before a lift is sent out for a job
- Every three months or 150 hours, whichever comes first
- No later than 13 months after the date of the prior annual inspection
- After every job
- If equipment has been out of service for more than three months
What should you check when conducting preventative maintenance?
- Water, oil, and coolant levels
- Battery power and function
- The presence of leaks
- Lubrication of the machine’s systems (be sure to bring your grease gun)
- Condition of tires
- Legibility of the decal
- Routing of wiring and hose for chaffing
- Hinges and latches
- Strength and integrity of cable track
- Tightness of fasteners
- Integrity of banjo keeper bolt
Conduct Post-Job Maintenance
When an aerial lift returns from a job, it needs to be cleaned thoroughly. The entire unit should be washed, including underneath the machine. Be sure to remove any debris, dust, or dirt that may have accumulated.
Check the manufacturer’s guide to see the specifications for lubrication and follow them exactly. This is also a good time to take a walk around the machines to see if there are any glaring physical defects that could have a negative impact on safety.
Replace or repair anything that needs attention. If the machine needs a paint touch-up, this would be an excellent opportunity to take care this and any similar, minor adjustments.
Perform Bi-Annual Checks
Every six months:
- Facilitate a discussion with the equipment’s operators to get a sense of what kind of jobs and conditions the lift experiences. Keep a record of this.
- Assess the lift to see if there are any quirks or patterns in the machine’s performance
- Pinpoint why any parts may have failed or malfunctioned and address accordingly
Check Your Job Site
- Are there any electrical lines or overhead obstructions?
- Are there any slopes, hills, or steep drop-offs?
- Is the route to and from the job site free of debris, holes or bumps, or any other obstructions?
- Can the surfaces the equipment will travel on handle the weight of the machines?
- Have any recent weather conditions negatively affected the job site?
- If workers have left a job site and return after a period of time, have they checked for any hazards that may have appeared while they were away?
If regular preventative maintenance and inspections are not conducted, you may be putting your employees and customers at risk. Please note, any revised guidelines set by ANSI and OSHA will always override any material in this blog post.
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