The 12 Concrete Checks of Christmas
Another year is coming to an end, the days are getting shorter and the cold weather has settled in for the next few months. There are lights everywhere, but that doesn’t necessarily mean work will ground to a halt. Aside from the repetitive Christmas-themed songs on the radio, the winter season brings with it its own range of risks and considerations that we must keep in mind when we head out to work.
We’ve put together a list of important checks to keep in mind this holiday season. We’re not talking about Santa’s sleigh or the naughty and nice lists, but rather the checks we need to do to make sure our mixers, plants and pumps stay safe over the festive season.
1. Make sure all water is drained out of the water tanks, water pumps and wash boxes
Water and cold weather are notoriously a risky mix. With temperatures likely to drop down to freezing or lower, the potential for any residual water to freeze poses a huge risk to equipment. Water expands as it freezes, and if this happens inside pipes, hoses or tanks, it can cause cracking, which will stop our equipment from working at an optimal level. To keep mixers and pumps in working order this winter, it’s a good idea to make sure we drain them well.
2. Check oil levels
Clean oil will keep our engines lubricated and stop them from overheating by reducing friction between all the moving parts. To keep our vehicles running at optimal levels this season, it’s important that we check that the oil levels are high enough. It’s also important to ensure our oil is clean, as dirt particles will build up in oil over time and affect the performance of our engine.
3. Make sure all greased parts are well greased, or check the auto-greaser levels
When operating equipment that contains moving parts, such as mixers, ensuring that all of the relevant components are well-greased will keep business running smoothly. In the winter, checking on grease levels is even more important as the cold weather can affect performance. This may lead to increased friction between moving parts, which will impede optimal operations.
4. Check for concrete build-up in the drum
At the end of a day’s pouring, there could be up to 600 pounds of fresh concrete stuck to the inside of a 10-cubic-yard truck mixer. No matter how many times we wash out, run water through or pressure wash the drum, chances are there will always be some concrete left. When this concrete dries, it becomes even harder to get out, and eventually the build up will reduce the available capacity in the drum. To make sure we’re able to produce the optimum amount of concrete our truck is capable of, it is worth investing in a rigorous cleaning routine to keep our drums as clean as possible.
5. Check all hoses for any signs of perishing
Maintaining concrete and water pump hoses is crucial to maintaining a high level of efficiency, and so any signs of perishing or damage should be taken seriously at any point in the year. In the winter, however, the cold temperature can affect the rubber in the hoses and make them more likely to crack, so make sure to keep an eye on them this season!
6. Check drum rollers are not worn
To keep our concrete mixers working at the top end of their capabilities, every operator should be enforcing regular checks of every element of the mixer. This especially applies to moving parts, particularly in the cold weather, or ones that may come into contact with moving parts. Checking that components such as the drum rollers are not worn down will give operators a chance to guarantee their mixers are working at optimal output during the cold season.
7. Check water levels
Like oil, the water in our engines help to keep them cool and prevent them from overheating. Making sure there is enough water to keep the engine cool is vital to making sure the vehicles will keep performing at optimum levels.
8. Check windscreen wiper wash
All kinds of weather can come at us in the winter, but when the rain, sleet and snow sets in, we want to make sure that we can keep a clear view of the road to ensure the highest levels of safety. Making sure our windscreen wiper wash in filled to suitable levels at all times is the best way to guarantee this, and regularly checking to make sure it hasn’t frozen in the winter chill is also a good idea.
9. Check wiper blades
For the same reasons that we want to make sure our windscreen wiper wash is ready for use, we need to check the condition of windscreen wipers. The cold can affect many materials, and already-worn wipers may suffer and worsen in the cold.
10, Check tyre tread level
As with any vehicle, tyre treads are vital for keeping us safe on the roads. Not only do we need to make sure our tyre treads are not worn down to the point that they are dangerous to use, we also need to make sure our tyres are suitable for the road in winter weathers.
11. Check brakes
With snow, sleet, ice and heavy rain all possible weather conditions throughout the winter months, it is important to maintain a healthy braking system on all of our vehicles. Checking for break fluid leaks is important, as any leakage will reduce the amount of pressure the components can apply when the brakes are operated. The same applies to brake pads, which can be worn down due to friction over time and therefore become less efficient.
12. Check front and rear lights
With darkness creeping in earlier in the evenings and taking longer to lift in the mornings, it is more important than any other time of year to make sure all of our lights are working properly. Not only will this ensure that we can see any potential hazards as drivers, but will make sure others are aware of our presence on the roads as well.
Above all, the best and easiest way to stay safe this winter is to ensure that our machines and vehicles have all passed their relevant safety checks when they are required to be serviced. The twelve steps above are good places to start, but if you are ever unsure, book your equipment in for a service as soon as possible.
Stay safe, everyone, and Merry Christmas.