Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Water-fed Pole Safety
Great care should be taken while using a waterfed pole. The following are a number of topics to be aware of while using a waterfed pole.
Trip Hazards (trailing hoses): Due to the nature of waterfed poles, there is constantly a hose running across the jobsite. It is important to mark these areas with signage to let others in the area know about the presence of trailing hoses.
Trip hazards (while using the poles): Due to the fact that you will often be looking up while operating a waterfed pole it is important to know your surroundings. Tripping while moving equipment can and will occur if you are not careful.
Slip hazards (water left on ground): Often times there will be standing water left behind from using a waterfed pole system. Either from runoff from cleaning the window or from RO systems concentrated water streams. It is important to mark these areas with signage to let other know of the standing water.
Slip hazards (freezing water in colder temperatures): In the winter it is especially important to be aware of standing water due to its ability to freeze on the ground. It is a good idea to pack ice melt in your vehicles in the winter months so that you can apply it to these areas. It is important to use proper signage to let passerby’s know about the presence of water on ground surfaces.
Electrocution (overhead power lines): Be sure to take care while working near overhead power lines. All waterfed poles can and will conduct electricity.
Electrocution (lightning storms): It is best to go indoors during power storms. All waterfed poles can and will conduct electricity.
Possible electrocution from shorts or faulty wiring in solar panels: Great caution should be taken when cleaning solar panels due to the presence of electricity. Consult with an expert regarding solar panels before cleaning them with a waterfed pole.
Daily equipment checks: It is important to visually inspect your waterfed pole for any visual problems with the equipment. Any problems should be repaired before continuing use.
Injury from falling objects: Be aware of your surroundings and check your equipment regularly for loose parts.
Injury from falling poles: Be aware of your surrounding and know that if your pole comes down it will come into contact with something or someone that is not aware of where you are working.
Injury to self from incorrect handling of equipment
1. Reducing fatigue (techniques): It is important to use proper technique to reduce the risk of fatigue and/or injury. When working at lower heights (25’ or so) it is possible to rely mainly on your arms to do the work. But as you begin to work at greater heights, it becomes more and more important to use your legs to help reduce fatigue. This is done by stepping towards and away from the building, using your body to move the pole/brush up and down the window and less of your hands.
2. Proper handling (lifting, lowering, repositioning): The proper way to extend a waterfed pole is by placing the brush head up against the building and extending it upwards. While doing so, it is important to have the brush head on the building to support the pole and weight. Larger poles may need to be lifted differently with the assistance of a 2nd person. This method is called footing. To properly lift a larger pole, simply extend a number of sections and have one person put their foot at the base of the pole. Then have the 2nd person begin to walk the pole up into the air towards the person footing the pole. Once the pole is upright the person footing the pole should lift the pole and lean it onto the building. To lower the pole simply collapse it via the clamping mechanism or have a person foot the pole and slowly walk it down. While using the ‘footing’ method as with any other circumstances, it is important to be ware of your surroundings. Be especially aware of any power lines in the area as contact with power lines will cause electrocution and possibly death.
Recovering a pole that has started to fall: Occasionally a pole will begin to fall in use if the operator is distracted or even if the wind happens to flare up without notice. To recover a pole that has begun to fall while in use it is best to step in the direction of the fall to attempt to recover the pole and bring it back to a vertical position.