Construction sites are often bustling with a variety of equipment, such as crawler excavators, dozers and wheel loaders. These hardworking machines are exposed to the harshest environments, accumulating layers of dirt, mud and debris day after day. The nature of the environment they work in means you can’t always keep your machines looking new, but you can keep them clean.
Regular cleaning of construction equipment offers numerous benefits. It helps extend the performance and life span of the machinery and promotes jobsite safety. Clean machines are less likely to experience operational failures or accidents that obstructed vision or compromised functionality can cause.
Moreover, maintaining cleanliness contributes to improving your company’s image and reputation. Here are six benefits of keeping up the appearance of your construction equipment so you can be more successful on the job.
1. Increased Life Span
Dirt, debris and grime buildup can lead to corrosion and rust, which put a strain on moving parts, filters and ventilation systems, ultimately shortening the life span of your equipment. By prioritizing the cleanliness of your equipment and following a preventive maintenance schedule, you can ensure smooth, efficient and reliable operation, minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity. Allocate time at the end of each workday for cleaning out debris that can contribute to buildup. Removing materials promptly helps prevent damage to components and premature wear. For excavators and dozers, consider using shovels and pressure washers to effectively clean both the machine and undercarriage.
2. Enhanced Jobsite Safety
Safety is a top concern on the jobsite because you and your equipment are constantly in motion. The simple act of keeping your equipment clean can significantly contribute to a safer working environment. For example, regularly cleaning equipment surfaces, such as steps, grab bars and handrails, enhances safety by ensuring a solid grip and footing when using three points of contact while entering and exiting the cab. Remember to clean equipment lights to help increase visibility. Some manufacturers offer additional lighting kits and rotating beacons for enhanced visibility.
Additionally, you should have clear visibility with clean windshields, windows and mirrors. Some brands provide floor-to-ceiling windows, making it easier for you to see other workers and equipment. You also have better visibility of attachments when you’re working, particularly during material-loading tasks.
Advanced features on construction equipment play a crucial role in enhancing jobsite safety. Object detection significantly improves awareness of your work area, especially in machine blind spots. Equipped with sensors, this system emits a sound when the equipment is in danger of colliding with an object. The intensity or frequency of the sound may increase as the machine gets closer to the obstacle.
To further aid in safety, these sensors are often complemented by a standard camera that allows you to see what’s behind you as you’re reversing. Its purpose is to facilitate safe maneuvering around objects or persons within your line of sight. By pressing a button, you can activate the camera view, which is displayed on the cab’s LCD monitor.
Don’t overlook the importance of wearing proper clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE). It can significantly help enhance safety protocols. Hard hats, safety glasses, high-visibility vests, gloves and steel-toed boots are essential tools to help protect against potential risks and injuries.
3. Better Company Image & Reputation
Your company’s reputation is everything in the construction industry, and first impressions start with the appearance of your equipment when it arrives at the jobsite.
A consistently well-maintained appearance speaks volumes, conveying reliability, expertise and a steadfast commitment to quality. It can set your company apart from competitors. Take the time to make simple repairs to panels (or replace them if needed), as well as repair scratches or dents on the machines. It can go a long way toward impressing your customers.
4. Easier Maintenance & Inspection
You or your mechanic are much more efficient when working on clean machines. Every machine you own should have a maintenance schedule, which you can find in the operation and maintenance manual. Following this schedule is a highly effective way to get the performance you expect from your machines as they age. If you don’t have the manual, ask your dealer for a copy of the maintenance schedule. Your dealer can also help with maintenance, as well as parts and service.
Many manufacturers offer telematics systems as standard features on equipment, making it easy for you and your dealer to remotely monitor and maintain your machines. You can see the health, location and productivity of your machine — all from a user-friendly mobile app and website.
The system also shows equipment status and can send notifications when it’s time for service to minimize machine downtime. Some manufacturers offer a subscription-based monitoring service, in which a team of equipment specialists at a centralized location track your equipment, watching for critical machine fault codes, upcoming and overdue service needs, and warranty expirations.
5. Better Resale Value
Regular cleaning can boost your equipment’s resale value, making it more appealing to potential buyers. A clean machine signals that it has been well maintained throughout its life span.
6. Regulatory Compliance
Some industries regulate equipment cleanliness to meet compliance standards set by regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These agencies require businesses operating heavy machinery in specific industries to maintain clean equipment — free from excessive dirt, dust, debris, oil and grease. This requirement aims to create safer working conditions for employees and operators. Failure to comply with these appearance guidelines and safety regulations can lead to unexpected penalties, legal consequences and potential project delays.
When it comes to owning and operating construction equipment, appearance does matter. By recognizing its importance, you can improve your operations, enhance your efficiency and be more successful on your next jobsite.
5 Tips on How to Get a Clean Machine
Before you take on your next job, give your machines a thorough cleaning. Here are some tips to get you started based on the operation manual:
- Remove dirt, grease and debris from the machine, including the engine compartment.
- If you’re using an excavator or dozer, inspect the undercarriage.
- Ensure that all machine components are properly lubricated, and grease exposed cylinder rods.
- Clean the machine’s cab. Some manufacturers provide an optional onboard air compressor that makes it easy to remove dust and debris.
- Replace any machine safety and warning decals that are scratched, illegible or missing. You can contact your local dealer to order new ones.