Milwaukee County Chooses PitProtect for Mechanical Service Pit Safety
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Product: PitProtect Inspection Pit Cover
Mechanical access pits make working under vehicles more convenient. However, because of the fall risk they present, many companies choose not to use them and instead may need to use cumbersome lifts or outsource the work entirely.
This is the challenge that the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation was faced with. The Milwaukee County Department of Transportation supports over 25 departments, managing various equipment, from mowers to plow trucks to boats.
Because of Milwaukee's harsh winters, the county's vehicles need to have anti-corrosion undercoating applied before being put into service. For several years, the undercoating has been outsourced to an outside vendor. However, the cost of time, logistics, and capital for the winterization process kept increasing year after year.
To reduce costs and provide timely service, John Blonien, Fleet Director for Milwaukee County, decided to bring the undercoating work in-house. To do this, he had a concrete pit poured in one of their old paint booths.
The new maintenance pit allowed workers to access the undercarriage and apply the undercoating to limit corrosion. This created a fall risk for his employees, and John knew that he needed to find a way to protect his people. So, he began to consider different pit cover options.
How To Protect a Mechanical Maintenance Pit
The first option he considered was to do something in-house. John employs two full-time welders to assist with custom projects. They could easily make steel plates that could cover the pits. However, this would be a heavy solution that would be too awkward for day-to-day use.
He continued his search, believing that someone had to have a more manageable solution.
John searched the internet for “ways to cover maintenance pits,” which is when he discovered PitProtect. This solution hit a couple of the marks that he was aiming for. It would cover the entire pit, limit the effort to use daily, and look nice in the shop.
However, he still had a couple of concerns that he needed to address, like if it would fit his custom-sized pit and if it would be easy to install.
John connected with one of our Fall Protection Specialists, Katie Campbell. She answered his questions and alleviated his concerns related to PitProtect.
It was an absolute pleasure working with [Simplified Safety]. I reached out and had questions about the product's size, features, and if it work for our application. I received an immediate response and was educated right off the bat.
- John Blonien
Why use PitProtect to cover your maintenance pits?
Even with an in-house fabrication team, PitProtect was a more cost-effective and efficient solution. Here are some of the advantages that piqued John’s interest.
Easy to Install
Installation took less than an hour with two mechanics and required only a drill. PitProtect's retractable design allows it to conform and adjust to the width of virtually any pit.
This was perfect for Milwaukee County because John wasn't sure what the pit's final width would be. This is possible without needing to perform any custom fabrication.
Easy to Use
The mechanical access pit cover is lightweight and made from aluminum. The retractable design feature lets the maintenance pit be fully or partially covered.
For example, the mechanic can slide the cover open to use the stairs, enter the pit, expand the cover to secure his entry point, and then slide PitProtect open from the middle.
Stays in Place
PitProtect is strong enough to hold a max load of 330 lb., allowing the mechanics to use PitProtect as a walking surface and remain continuously safe in the shop even when the pit is not in use.
As mentioned above, John wanted the pit to be safe even when not in use. Guardrail could have been installed; however, it would have been inefficient as the railing would have to be removed when the pit was in use, reintroducing the original fall hazard in the process.
John said it was a very intuitive, painless process. That was one of the advantages of using PitProtect. As an off-the-shelf product, it can be installed with unique applications and adjusted to different lengths and widths, depending on the need.
Removing obstacles like the arduous removal of steel plates or guardrails will allow your teams to focus on what’s important, like getting the job done. PitProtect is a simple and easy solution that the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation is using so that their workspace is safe, clean, and more likely to be used.