by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor
Is Your Sweeping Program As Safe As Can Be?
As editor of WorldSweeper and executive director of the World Sweeping Association, I subscribe to a variety of sweeping-related information resources, both on and off the internet. Sadly, this means that an issue I'm exposed to on a weekly basis is accidents involving sweepers.
Yes, I know there are a lot of sweepers in operation, just here in the United States. Still, even as a sweeping contractor or public works director you may not realize that almost every week there are multiple reports of sweeper-related injuries and fatalities. Most of these involve other vehicles striking a sweeper, usually from the rear. However – to my mind, anyway – a surprising number are in the category of single-vehicle accidents. These usually appear to stem from tiredness and/or inattention. Sweepers also strike pedestrians on a frequent basis.
Once in awhile I post these incidents onto our Facebook site. However, I am judicious in this decision because, let's face it, most of the time there's nothing an industry reader can do but gawk. Seeing what's happened is different from knowing enough details to be able to use the information to instruct your own operators on how to avoid the same type of mistake.
I'm making the concept of sweeper safety the topic of this month's editorial because I want to showcase vital importance of providing ongoing safety training, emphasizing good procedures, having your sweepers equipped with the best possible alert signage, and doing whatever else you can to keep your sweeping team safe. If a worst case scenario occurs in your own organization you want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and know someone's life wasn't negatively impacted or ended because of your management team's inaction.
There is an extensive safety section here at the WorldSweeper website. We also emphasize safety issues very strongly at the World Sweeping Association, where we provide a monthly, Members-only, safety bulletin from nationally-recognized safety expert, John Meola. When it comes down to it, there's nothing more important than the safety of the people entrusted to your care eight or more hours of every business day. Please use this editorial reminder to redouble your efforts to make your workplace safe; don't let your organization end up in one of the tragic newsfeeds I read most every day.
As always, if you have 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.
Executive Director, World Sweeping Association
PS If you haven't 'liked' our WorldSweeper Facebook page, what are you waiting for? That's where we offer industry previews and updates on an ongoing basis.
October Newsletter Contents
(Scroll down to read stories or click on links.)
- Seattle Study Finds Road Runoff Extremely Toxic to Salmon
- Tips for Fall Sweeping
- Beach Cleaning in Pensacola a Never-ending Process
- New Calgary Stampede 'Sweeper Critters' Now on the Job
- Featured Contractor: Hamel Parking Lot Service
- Noteworthy in Sweeping: Sweeper Operator Saves Seven-Year-Old's Chalk Art Painting
- Not Exactly Sweeping: TV Show, BONES, Features Senator Killed by a Street Sweeper
Seattle Study Finds Road Runoff Extremely Toxic to Salmon
A new study shows that stormwater runoff from urban roadways is so toxic to coho salmon that it can kill adult fish in as little as 2-1/2 hours. Scientists have long suspected that the mixture of oil, heavy metals and grime that washes off highways and roads can be poisonous to coho, but the study is the first to prove it.
In our July newsletter, we featured an article about how Seattle is doubling its sweeping program's scope in 2016 in an effort to reduce stormwater runoff pollution. Brake dust, remnants of auto exhaust and the zinc from vehicle tires are just a few of the substances commonly found in the toxin-laden residue on streets in the City of Seattle. Although this article by the Seattle Times stresses soil-based filtration, Seattle's analysis on the cost of pollutant removal via sweeping has been shown to be about $5.60/lb., well under the cost of stormwater pollutant removal via traditional, end-of-the-pipe methods. If you sweep for stormwater pollution reduction – or wonder if you ought to be – you should read this article!
Check out the article.
Tips for Fall Sweeping
In case you missed it, PAVEMENT's Jessica Stoikes interviewed representatives of Elgin, Schwarze Industries, Stewart-Amos and TYMCO to amass ideas on ways to have better results when sweeping leaves.
If your organization will be sweeping leaves this fall, you'll want to take a look at the many good ideas put forth by these experienced sweeper manufacturer representatives.
Take a look at the information.
Beach Sweeping in Pensacola a Never-ending Process
Beach cleaning is an area of the sweeping industry that is often overlooked. However, in municipalities with public beaches the process can be laborious and never-ending. Here is an overview of how one such entity, the Santa Rosa Island Authority, has been handling its beach cleaning process.
Often, and as is the case in Pensacola, the cleanup entails a combination of a traditional power sweeper handling paved areas near the beach, coupled with a dedicated beach cleaner used on the beach itself.
Read about it.
New Calgary Stampede 'Sweeper Critters' Now on the Job
In 2001 Calgary, Alberta – which is located in the western portion of Canada – started a tradition of affixing giant 'street sweeper critters' onto the city's sweepers for cleaning up after the City's celebrated Calgary Stampede festivity events. In 2014 the previous critters were retired. However, new ones were designed and debuted to assist with sweeper cleanup at this year's Calgary Stampede parade.
Calgary's street sweeper critters have become a mainstay for the annual Calgary Stampede, and are also visitors to Alberta's Children's Hospital. The Calgary Public Works Department has found that decorating its sweepers for the event is a great public relations' tool for the city and the tradition is expected to continue well into the future.
Learn more about Calgary's street sweeper critters.
Featured Contractor: Hamel Parking Lot Service
The storyline of our feature on Iowa-based Hamel Parking Lot Service follows the fairly recent purchase of what is a large, full-service sweeping and pavement maintenance company by someone who did not have any previous experience in any of the areas of business the company operates in.
Through the years Hamel Parking Lot Service has become a full-on road construction and maintenance company. The company does residential road maintenance as well as work for small municipalities. Their crews pave, repair and do concrete flat work. Most of the company's sweeping services are done for area malls and similar businesses.
Learn more about how sweeping is handled in the heartland of America, Iowa, and how empowerment of employees can play a role in having a smooth-running operation – even when the company is sold to a 'newbie owner.' Article includes a 32-minute podcast interview between the company owner and WorldSweeper's editor.
Read about Hamel Parking Lot Service and listen to the podcast interview at the World Sweeping Association website.
Sweeper Operator Saves Seven-Year-Old's Chalk Art Painting
It was a small gesture, one of the kind of thoughtful actions that we'd like to believe take place every day, everywhere. However, this particular effort by Wendel Lamb, street sweeper operator in Courtney, British Columbia, Canada, meant much happiness to Brielle Pronick, a local seven-year-old girl who lived on his route.
The young lady was working on a chalk art painting on the road in front of her house. Her dad happened to be there taking some pictures of his daughter's creation. Lamb said he saw the art as he was going down a hill. "I saw her out on the road when I was coming up and she pulled the chalk back and then ran over toward her father and I could see this worried look," Lamb said. "She was looking at me then looking out at the road and looking at me again." Seeing that the art was in the sweeper's path, Brielle's father, Mikhail, switched to video.
See what happened next.
Not Exactly Sweeping: TV Show, BONES, Features Senator Killed by a Street Sweeper
For a show set in DC, Bones hasn't necessarily delved into the politics world as often as you would have thought. However, that will change on November 5th, when an all-new episode, "The Senator in the Street Sweeper," airs.
As per the press release, the shredded body of a U.S. Senator is found in a street sweeper. No information is available about the make or model of the sweeper. It will be interesting to see how the world of television intersects with the world of the power sweeping industry. The show airs on FOX network at 8pm.
Get more information about the episode