7 Ways to Save on Safety (Part 2 of 3)

This is a continuation of 7 Ways to Save on Safety.  Read Part 1.

2. Evaluate the longevity of safety options.

How long will the system that you purchase last? At what point will it need to be repaired/replaced? This will require that you evaluate what materials the products are made from, potential jobsite damage, and expected lifespan. Here are some examples:

Product Material

A galvanized railing will last longer than a powder coated, non-galvanized railing. A roof anchor that is galvanized will last longer than one that is not galvanized. A wire retractable will last longer than a webbing retractable. A railing that uses galvanized pipe fittings instead of weld points will be far less susceptible to rust - and yes, last longer.

Potential Jobsite Damage

Railing will typically take abuse much better than other fall protection products, but still need to be chosen wisely. For instance, railing that will be near heavy machinery or the lifting path of a crane, may become damaged. If the railing was welded, the cost of repairs may be significant. If it was a modular railing, the expense can be minimal.

Another example to consider: products made out of webbing (harnesses, some lanyards, some anchor points) will show wear much more quickly than products made out of metal. A webbing retractable or lanyard may be a less expensive option than a stainless steel cable, but will it stand up to the conditions on your jobsite over the course of the time?

Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • Will the unit potentially be walked on? Will it be used by or around welders?
  • Are there corrosive substances that may come into contact with the fall protection?
  • Will it be rubbing against any abrasive surfaces?

Questions like these should lead you towards choosing the right material. On the same note, evaluate how the worker will view the particular safety equipment that you provide for him. If you purchase the cheapest harness you can get your hands on, it will probably end up being tossed in the back of a pickup truck with other tools. If you get one that is more comfortable, it may actually find its way to a hook or hanger.

Expected Lifespan

Most active fall protection - harnesses, lanyards, retractables, anchor points, lifelines, etc... have a maximum manufacturer's lifespan of 5 years from the date that the unit goes into service (note the tag that is on almost every piece of equipment). However, some units require extra attention. For instance, most retractables have a 5 year life span, but need to be recertified every 2 years. Vacuum anchor systems typically need to be re-certified once a year. On the other hand, railing will have the longest potential lifespan. A galvanized, modular railing system - with no weld points or ground penetrations - may last 20, 30, 40 years or more.

By purchasing with longevity in mind, you can save significant costs in the long run.

3. Look for alternative purchasing options.

Are there ways to purchase a better system without compromising your cash flow? Some companies have the ability to lease products to you. For example: let's say that you want to purchase a large railing system for a few roofs at your facility. The cost of the railing is 50k. Budgets are tight, so releasing that much cash right now is difficult or impossible. However, leasing the railing over 5 years will allow you to pay a small amount out of your safety budget every month and provide your company with a valuable write off for 5 years. Unlike a bank loan, leasing typically expands your financial resources while offering better terms than a bank can offer you. At the end of the term you will end up owning the products to keep your works safe - without compromising the commodity that is of utmost importance right now: cash.

4. Take advantage of monthly specials and quantity discounts.

Whenever purchasing, ask if there are discounts for purchasing at certain levels. If you work for a larger company with different branches, or even simply know others in the safety industry, network with others to purchase together. Safety supply companies will appreciate the opportunity to expose themselves to other branches/companies and you will potentially save money by purchasing in a larger quantity than usual. Think of it as a co-op for safety.

 

The final installment of 7 Ways to Save on Safety Concludes on Thursday with three more point.

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