by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor
How Does Your Organization Prioritize Safety?
When asked, most sweeping program managers will identify safety issues as their number one concern. Yet not a week goes by without news of a fatality or near-fatality involving a sweeper in the daily sweeping-related bulletins I receive.
Working in my alternate role as Executive Director of the World Sweeping Association (WSA) with nationally recognized safety expert, John Meola, has been an eye-opening experience. Meola, who provides WSA with a Safety Bulletin each month, has helped educate WSA Members and myself to the many hazards faced by sweeping professionals each and every day. Most of his accident avoidance and prevention tips smack of common sense. However, without constant education and re-education of these sensible best practices there's little chance that workers will understand that the mandate of their organization, when it comes to safety, is that "the right way is the only way."
Meola reports that transportation accidents cause 40% of fatalities and roadway incidents result in another 22%. That's 2/3 of all fatal incidents that have something to do with vehicles or machinery or working on the road. Despite all that, the training time given to teaching best safety practices to workforces is minimal in many sweeping-oriented organizations.
Effective the first of next year, OSHA has new requirements for reporting severe injuries in the workplace. In short, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within 8 hours. Work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye will also need to be reported within 24 hours. All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, even those who are otherwise exempt from maintaining injury and illness records, will be required to comply with OSHA's new severe injury and illness reporting requirements.
Yes, it can take longer to perform tasks safely. Yes, good quality safety gear, whether clothing or other equipment, can cost more. However, the paybacks in lower workers' comp. and other insurance costs when an accident-free workplace is maintained are enormous, to say nothing of the increase in the health and welfare of your workforce. Those are just some of the reasons that WSA is proud to sponsor a seminar by John Meola next January 28th at the 2015 National Pavement Exposition. John, who works for Invincia Insurance, has offered some Thanksgiving-oriented reminders you can download as a PDF. He suggests that you post them near the time clock or pass them around for a 'read and sign.'
As the year winds down, many of you reading this are in the process of planning changes to how you will be operating in 2015. I encourage each of you to include an even stronger emphasis on the safety programs and other, related, education you provide to your employees. They and their families and friends are counting on you to make sure they don't become the subject of one of the bulletins I receive.
If you have any news of potential interest to the power sweeping community, please let us know. Between this publication, the WorldSweeper.com website, and the World Sweeping Association, we'll be sure to get the information passed along to interested readers.
Executive Director, World Sweeping Association
PS If you haven't 'liked' our WorldSweeper Facebook page, what are you waiting for? That's where we offer industry previews and updates on an ongoing basis.
November Newsletter Contents
(Scroll down to read stories or click on links.)
- Tips on Purchasing Sweeper Parts
- Which Came First, Self-propelled Street Sweepers or Tow Behinds?
- Urban Sediment Removal: The Science, Policy, and Management of Street Sweeping
- Portland, Oregon, Gets Leaves Off the Streets Via Resident-Financed 'Leaf Day'
- World Sweeping Association Update
- Featured Contractor: Bloomfield Provides Service Dependability to Long Island
- "I Drive A Street Sweeper" Children's Book Added to Website
- Not Exactly Sweeping: Top Ten Flashlight Apps for Smartphones/Tablets Contain Malware
Tips on Purchasing Sweeper Parts
Last month, WorldSweeper linked an article from the Toronto Star that documented the apparent decline of TYMCO sweepers being used in Toronto. In the article, this decline was cited as being from the use of non-OEM parts provided by a subsidiary of NAPA, as well as the use of general mechanics without specialized knowledge of sweepers. In addition, the timeframe between periodic maintenance intervals also was allegedly compromised in Toronto.
Gabriel Charky, who for over two decades was a principal with sweeper manufacturer Johnston/Allianz/Madvac, and then founded Vermont-based Sweeper Parts Sales, took exception to a portion of the WorldSweeper editorial written at the same time; in specific, to the following sentence: "This story shows in stark reality what to expect when untrained personnel, using non-OEM parts, are in charge of repairs. If you follow that recipe, you are very likely to end up with a similar disaster no matter what make and model of sweepers you are utilizing." Because of Charky's extensive background in the sweeping industry, we invited him to provide his valuable opinion when it comes to the topic of choosing a parts supplier.
Check out the information.
Which Came First, Self-propelled Street Sweepers or Tow Behinds?
The cleanliness of roads has been a concern since their invention because they quickly became dumping grounds for all types of waste. This resulted in the rise of numerous health concerns. Starting during the Industrial Revolution, especially, coal dust proved very problematic. Dust would eventually settle on the streets and then rainfall would wash it into adjacent streams. Many of these streams were used as drinking water, making many people very sick. Today, we've come full circle in the seriousness of the degradation of our water supply.
Starting in the mid-nineteenth century, inventors started coming up with mechanized ways of dealing with road debris. Initial cleaning was done via what we call a 'street broom' even today, in combination with a wheelbarrow and, usually, a shovel. This was very arduous, back-breaking work and so American ingenuity went to work to figure out a better alternative. If you'd like to see the very first patent for a street cleaning machine in the U.S., take a look at the link below to the article in WorldSweeper's History section.
Check it out.
Urban Sediment Removal: The Science, Policy, and Management of Street Sweeping
Unfortunately, we didn't discover this scholarly work until over a decade after its original publication. From what is available to preview, the authors have done a thorough job of recognizing the rising problem of storm water runoff pollution and have endeavored to show how power sweeping best practices could be used to address the issue.
At the website link for the book, the viewer is able to review a number of pages of the contents. Although all were not reviewed, I went through the majority and found the writing to be cogent and topical. The authors appeared to be well versed in the topic and the writing was thoughtful and thorough. Use the link to find out more about how the work is organized. From there, you can use a provided link to read some of the pages in the publication.
Portland, Oregon, Gets Leaves Off the Streets Via Resident-Financed 'Leaf Day'
Leaves are falling across the western hemisphere, creating a headache and funding issues for many street sweeping departments. While some cities allow citizens to put all their leaves into the street for pickup, others mandate fines for anyone caught doing so. Some municipalities have even taken the tack of stopping their sweeping program before the leaves hit the ground.
City officials in Oregon's so-called 'Rose City,' Portland, have taken an entirely different approach: Residents are given the option of cleaning up their own leaves or, alternatively, putting them out onto the street in front of their houses for pickup on the city's annual 'Leaf Day.' However, here's the catch: In 2010, budget cuts led Portland officials to require residents to start paying for leaf pickup throughout the many tree-lined neighborhoods in the city. Throughout those neighborhoods in metro Portland, residents have been given the option of paying a $15 or $30 fee to pay for having a street sweeper remove leaves from the street in front of their homes.
Read the article.
World Sweeping Association Update
The World Sweeping Association has announced several additions to the organization. First, Vermont-based Sweeper Parts Sales has agreed to provide a 15% discount to WSA Members on parts it sells for Johnston, Allianz, Madvac, Global and Bucher sweepers. This new discount was added to the many already in place.
Secondly, in an effort to spur sweeping contractors to determine for certain that they have correct and cost-effective insurance coverage, WSA is now offering a FREE 60-day Trial Membership to any sweeping contractor who signs up for an insurance review by WSA's endorsed insurance group. The offer includes a two-month membership extension for current WSA Member companies.
And, for those contractors who wonder what, if anything, they're missing out on by not getting WSA's bi-monthly Member Update, here are just some of the topics that were included in just the last two months:
- How to use the concept of 'unjust enrichment' to get paid by a property manager.
- Info on the possibility of washing and reusing DEF filters.
- Access to the free podcast "Performance Appraisals: New Requirements and Best Practices."
- Details surrounding Fixxbook's 'Select Contractor Program' for companies sweeping Walmart locations.
- Access to the free podcast "How to Make Your Workplace Holiday Party Sparkle... With No Legal Hangovers."
- Behind-the-scenes info and advice about the very aggressive sales pitches coming from Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp.
- Information about the current outsourcing progress of Home Depot, as well as the reporting portal the company will reportedly be using when its new third party vendor is selected.
- Link to an on-demand webcast for property management CEOs entitled "Driving Revenue With Facebook From A Leadership Perspective." Provided as something that could be shared with property manager customers.
- Details about Simon Property Group's requirement to pay a $125 annual registration fee with Dun and Bradstreet.
If you're a sweeping contractor, you're missing out if you are not a World Sweeping Association Member!
Check out WSA Membership.
Featured Contractor: Bloomfield Provides Service Dependability to Long Island
Kirk Bloomfield spent a number of years working for others in the business of sweeping, snowplowing and landscaping. When he wanted to get married he knew he'd want to have more income, so he decided to strike out on his own in the field of parking area cleanup. That the couple had no sweeper and no clients were simply seen as obstacles to be overcome, which they did.
"For the first two years, though," says the couple, "we did all the cleaning by hand with a backpack blower as our only machine. The only clients we could get as a start-up company were other 'mom and pop,' retail-type locations. None of the larger commercial companies would even try us because we didn't own a sweeper." Fast forward 14 years from when the company was founded and you'll find five sweepers running routes each night of the week.
"I Drive A Street Sweeper" Children's Book Added to Website
It's time to think about sweeper-oriented toys to put under the tree. This book is written for young children as a bedtime story. It is available in both library binding (hard cover) and as a paperback. The author is Sarah Bridges, PhD, who is a psychologist and writer living in Minneapolis with her four children. She has written 13 children's books including Hank's story.
You will find the book in our 'Toys' section of the website. On the same page as this book are a number of other sweeper-related items that might be exactly the gift you'd like to give to the kids and/or kids at heart who like the sweeping industry. If you know of sweeper-related toys, books or other items that we don't have on the website, be sure to let us know.
Take a look at the WorldSweeper page of sweeper toys.
Top Ten Flashlight Apps for Smartphones/Tablets Contain Malware
A recent breaking report claims that 500 million smartphones and tablets have been infected with malware and/or trojan files, which are reportedly present in all of the top ten most downloaded flashlight apps. The linked Special Report video provides information on how to remove these apps from your phone, including that removing the apps and doing a factory reset will take care of the problem.
The cybersecurity expert who made the discovery by finding the problem on his own phone, Gary Miliefsky of Snoopwall.com, said that one way to check on your current flashlight app is to see how big the file is. If the app file is between 1.5 to 5 megabytes, the app will likely have the malware. He advises looking for an app under 1 megabyte. At the end of the video he also references a maker that is reliable. Note that the latest Apple iPhone/iPad operating system offers an embedded flashlight built into it.
Click to learn more.