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June 2024

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2022 Editor's Overview Logo

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To commemorate National Safety Month in the U.S., this issue offers a number of safety-related articles targeted to power sweeping. Note that by registering at this location (which we listed in our May e-newsletter) you can view/receive NSC's weekly safety topics as well as gain access to a month's worth of free resources to help prevent leading causes of injury and death among your colleagues, community, family and friends.

Time Flies; It Doesn't Take the Bus...

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor

Nineteen years ago, on the June 21st Solstice, I debuted the WorldSweeper website. This marked a significant transition from the U.S.-centric American Sweeper website and magazine that I had previously operated. Since then we have compiled sweeping-related stories from more than 20 other countries, many of which involve stories from my own visitations to them.

These days, in addition to this free monthly newsletter the WorldSweeper website offers over 60 gigabytes of files and photos. They include stories and educational information on most all power sweeping topics in the U.S. and around the world.

Including the American Sweeper timeframe, my power sweeping projects have won at least one APEX Award for Publication Excellence an unprecedented 30 years in a row. As a result of that unbroken record – I'm told by the organizers that no other person or organization has matched that accomplishment – I didn't enter the APEX contest this year. It's the first time to not do so since 1994 when I won for the initial issue of American Sweeper magazine.

Through the years, these newsletters have emphasized many topics. In this issue our articles are intended to help our readers perform their operations more safely, whether municipalities or contractors. Because of the very nature of the sweeping process, it's clear that safety training and related information should be emphasized to all those involved with the business of power sweeping. I'm confident you will be able to glean information from this issue's topics that will assist you in keeping your own workforce more safe.

Since I published the first Supervac Quarterly for the Schwarze family in 1987, this anniversary marks my 37th year of involvement in providing information to the power sweeping industry. And, having just turned 74 earlier in the month, I've decided this will be my last year at the helm. During the next six months I'll work at figuring out the best landing spot for this WorldSweeper project. I have some ideas on the topic; if you do, as well, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Finally, we updated our previous story about the 84-year-old 'Noteworthy in Sweeping' recipient we featured last month, James Raven. It now includes a photo of him being presented with the certificate we sent to the city in which he works. We are told that Mr. Raven was very proud to receive this accolade from 'his industry.'

As always, if you have questions and/or 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.

Good Sweeping,
Ranger Signature
Editor, WorldSweeper.com
Executive Director, World Sweeping Association
Member, PAVEMENT Hall of Fame

PS If you're a contractor I urge you to check out the many benefits of membership in the World Sweeping Association. Also, if you haven't 'liked' our WorldSweeper Facebook page, what are you waiting for? That's where we offer a variety of industry previews and updates on an ongoing basis.

June Newsletter Contents
(Scroll down to read stories or click on links below.)

  1. Beware of Hopper Fires When Sweeping After Tailgating Events
  2. Case Study: The Investigation of a Serious Street Sweeper Accident
  3. North Dakota's Pro Sweeping, Inc. Extends Safety Record
  4. Keeping Workers Safe During Predicted Unprecedented Summer Heat
  5. Not Exactly Sweeping: Hearing is Be-Leafing When Students Invent Quieter Leaf Blower

Beware of Hopper Fires When Sweeping After Tailgating Events


This article was prompted by reading about the Kenny Chesney concert on June 3rd as part of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Arts Festival. The CBS News article discussed the enormous tailgate party that preceded the concert.

This type of event can pose a significant safety challenge to the parking lot sweepers that handle cleanup. The tailgate areas often have a large amount of wrappers, paper bags and other flammable items. This debris, coupled with the widespread practice of barbecuing at these parties, can be the catalyst for a hopper fire even when heavy dust suppression sprays are in use. If your operator sweeps still-hot bbq briquets into the hopper the chance of a hopper fire becomes real.

The photo above is from a sweeper that caught on fire in Los Angeles as a result of something similar occurring. In this instance, the sweeper went out to clean up an oil spill and the operator inadvertently swept a lit flare into the hopper. The article we previously wrote about the fire is linked below and offers information designed to help you educate your operators about the potential safety issue.

Check out the article.

Case Study: The Investigation of a Serious Street Sweeper Accident


The accident in the link is a Case Study discussed and dissected by WorldSweeper's Editor. The tragedy occurred when a passenger bus collided with the rear of a street sweeper, which was in operation at the time. The visibility was severely compromised due to a large cloud of dust emanating from the sweeper, which was not employing water to mitigate dust dispersion. This lack of visibility was identified as a primary cause of the accident.

The investigation into the accident was multifaceted, involving a review of video evidence, depositions from employees, analysis of operational manuals, the examination of federal and state traffic control devices, manuals and more. This Case Study details info about what transpired after a particular serious, injury accident occurred. Be sure to read it so as to better understand how to keep your sweeper operators running safely.

Check out the details.

North Dakota's Pro Sweeping, Inc. Extends Safety Record

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Congratulations to Bruce Christianson and the WSA member company he manages, North Dakota's Pro Sweep Inc., for its recent feature article in NA Sweeper magazine. Pro Sweep was also the winner of our own "Award of Excellence in Power Sweeping" for 2022 in part due to the company having an unblemished safety record in its entire 21 years of existence. This enviable record has since been continued into the present.

If you want to learn more about how one of the top sweeping companies in America operates, successfully and safely, be sure to check out the articles linked above.

Keeping Workers Safe During Predicted Unprecedented Summer Heat

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June 2023 to May 2024 were the hottest 12 months on record, not just in the U.S. but including data from the entire world. Last month was not just the 12th consecutive month to set a monthly global average temperature record – it also exceeded a key Paris Agreement temperature target.

Our affiliated World Sweeping Association has, since 2014, provided to its members a 'Safety First!' information collection each month. These are composed of targeted safety tips for its sweeping contractor members provided by a national safety expert, the late John Meola. In the summer months these often include tips on staying safe in the extreme heat that climate change summers are now bringing. In the interest of keeping industry workers safer this summer, WSA has compiled a number of these tips into a PDF file that's linked below.

Two other links are offered, as well. These are to reminders about OSHA and employees working in extreme heat along with a handout you can print and provide to your management and/or workers.

Check out the WSA Safety First! compilation with this link. Go here to see an informative bulletin by a law firm about the liabilities OSHA has about workers and extreme heat. Finally, here is where you can see the one-page handout of reminders about mitigation steps when working in extreme heat.


Students and Blower

Hearing is Be-Leafing When Students Invent Quieter Leaf Blower

Engineering students at Johns Hopkins University were tasked with making a leaf blower operate more quietly; as powerful as ever but significantly quieter and without that high whine that's so annoying. Shocking their sponsors, their advisers, and even themselves a little, the students did it.

They workshopped more than 40 versions of the solution they finally settled on: an attachment that cuts the machine's noise almost like a silencer on a gun or a muffler on a car. Their system is now patent-pending and has been licensed by Black & Decker for a roll-out within two years. This innovation, which drops the overall noise level by nearly 40% while almost entirely erasing the most obnoxious frequencies. When it comes to market, this innovation seems destined to help parking area sweeping contractors, who often receive noise complaints from their power blowers.

Check out the coverage about this innovation.

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Thanks for reading WorldSweeper.com's June 2024 Newsletter!

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