15 Minutes to Protect Your Business and Save a Life

For the past four or five years we have devoted our March issue of RER to the topic of aerial safety, and we're doing it again with this issue. Why the focus on aerial safety in this magazine devoted to equipment rentals? Falls from height continue to be the leading cause of accidents leading to injuries and deaths on jobsites, and lack of training and familiarization when it comes to aerial equipment is the biggest contributor.

Part of the problem continues to be lack of attention to safety detail on the part of rental companies that rent out aerial equipment to people who are untrained or unfamiliar with its operation.

I always remember a former JLG executive commenting to me how surprised he was when he got involved in the aerial industry to realize that obviously a car rental agency wouldn't rent a car to somebody without a drivers' license, yet rental companies rent a 135-foot boomlift to people who show no proof that they are trained to operate it. You can't drive a car but you can raise somebody 135 feet in the air and move that lift around. Yeah, that makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Aerial equipment has really become the leading type of equipment in the rental industry, and the vast majority of rental companies depend on aerial rentals for their success. Now I've visited hundreds of rental companies and I've talked with thousands of rental people and I know that most of you are aware of the importance of aerial safety. But still I know all too well that sometimes your attention to safety details is not what it should be. I know because I hear about too many accidents, and I see too many machines being rented to people who lack the qualifications. Too often attention to safety detail just gets overlooked in the course of a busy business day, with the need to move as many units out the door and get as high a utilization as possible.

I know you're doing your best, but again I ask you to please take a few minutes and read through Brandey Smith's “20 Tips to Cultivate an AWP Safety Culture.” I'm sure there is something you can learn to make your business operations safer. If you get one tip that you can use, it will be worth it. Not only might it save a life or prevent an injury, but it might protect you from lawsuits, and make it easier for you to sleep at night knowing your company is doing all it can do to ensure aerial safety on the jobsite.

So please, take 15 minutes, turn to page 22 and read. That's not too much to ask. And if you can think of any good tips that we've overlooked, go to your e-mail and send them in to us. As long as there are accidents out there, we'll revisit this topic over and over again.

Thanks for taking the time.

I've written in the past about the Lift & Access Showcase event held annually in Arizona. The event features a series of walk-around presentations where manufacturers give in-depth presentations about the features of the equipment they make, with an opportunity for attendees to examine the machines up close. Additionally, there is a demo area where manufacturers can demo the machines and attendees can have the opportunity to try them out themselves, and some great seminars and networking events.

I've been attending the Showcase for the past four years and each time I liked it more. Now I'm proud to say that RER, with parent company Penton Media, will be co-sponsoring the event and participating in the planning for it. And this year the scope of the event will be expanded dramatically. The showcase will be co-located with Ritchie Bros.' auction at its permanent auction site in Orlando, Fla., in October. So attendees at the Showcase can also participate in the Ritchie Bros. auction — so if you see a piece of machinery at the Showcase that interests you, there might even be a used one for sale at the auction. And if you haven't attended a Ritchie Bros. auction, you're definitely missing a fascinating experience, not to mention the possibility of picking up on a good deal.

Also this year's Showcase will go beyond its traditional focus on aerial equipment, with exhibitors showing earthmoving equipment, light towers, compressors, generators and a whole lot more. At the risk of being overly promotional, we'll be talking more about the event in the coming months, so please consider coming out to Orlando in October!

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