How To Achieve Safe Scaffold Foundations

The stability of a scaffold depends on a safe foundation. Poor work practices such as the ones we will go into will destabilise a scaffold exposing workers and others to the risk of serious injury or death!Lets take a look at a few different scenarios…

IMG-1085-E1402451772583If scrap material (eg bricks, timbers, tiles, etc) is used as a foundation there is a high risk of the foundation collapsing which may cause the scaffold to overturn or collapse. Instead, baseplates and soleboards that meet AS/NZS IMG-11034576 should be used. Always make sure that the baseplates are centrally supported on the soleboards. Not being centered risks the baseplate slipping off the soleboard leading to skewing of the scaffold or even possibly having the scaffold collapse.

Never have the soleboards of a scaffold straddle a trench or excavated area, nor should a scaffold be erected too close to a trench or excavation.Aztex-IMG-1095The risk of subsidence or collapse of the excavated are or trench leads to uneven point loads or even having the scaffold fall into the trench. Always make sure that the soleboards are bedded in a firm foundation and the distance from the scaffold to a trench should be no less than the depth of the trench or excavation.

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Small Petrol Engine Safety Tips, Part Two

In our last post, we covered some basic tips on protecting us from fires and explosions, when working with petrol engines. We also covered use on containers and some other points. We carry on from there.

Some may disassociate the air filter with fuel — air is harmless, of course — but it’s important to use care when working on an air cleaner since the foam filter, when present, may be saturated with fuel, oil or kerosene.

Fire ExtinguisherThe heat produced by engines also makes them prone to spark, which can ignite combustible materials in the area, such as grass and dry leaves. Wood and grass ignite at around 200 – 320˚C, while the core of an internal combustion engine can reach 2,500 degrees and the exhaust pipe can reach over 500 degrees

Whenever possible, avoid repairing or testing an engine in an area with materials that may ignite. Ensure fire extinguishers are present, charged and easily accessible so that any fire that may occur can be quickly extinguished.

Obviously, anything hot enough to spark will cause serious burns when coming in contact with skin. Always allow an engine to cool before doing any maintenance checks or repair work, and change oil when an engine is warm, but not hot! Wait until the engine has cooled completely before refuelling, since any gas spilled on a hot cylinder could start a fire, as well.

Now, we should also consider where an engine will be repaired or tested. We’ll look at this on our next post, plus cover some other points.

Until our next post.

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Small Petrol Engines and Your Safety

It’s so easy to take safety for granted. We may wonder at why, like what was in the news last year, a fellow gets burned after an explosion in his work shed. It turned out he was smoking or had Burning-Enginea lit cigarette and there was an open can of petrol, and you guessed it, the darn thing blew up!

Let’s face it, from moving parts to flammable fluids, petrol engines contain a number of materials that can harm a user who’s not cautious. Some safety ideas may seem simple enough, but sometimes a little reminder can go a long way when the focus is on the job and safety measures are unintentionally neglected. By noting and taking care of observing the following tips you can help prevent any accidents or injuries that could occur.

Some safety measures are generally common sense. As we’ve learned, it’s best not to light up a cigarette while working on anything that involves fuel. Before cleaning the fuel cup or replacing a fuel hose, ensure the area is free of flames, sparks and anything that may be prone to igniting. Follow the same guideline when draining fuel from the engine before storing the equipment.

The vapour from one just 250 ml of petrol, when mixed with air in the right proportion, will have the explosive power of about several sticks of dynamite. Scary, huh? But, it’s true and worth noting. Remember that it is fuel vapour that is extremely flammable.

Clean up any fuel spills immediately, and discard the rags in a closed metal container. Carburettor cleaners and engine degreasers, along with the vapours, are also flammable and should be treated with Jerry-Cansthat same care.  

We should also remember to store fuel only in approved containers. This will prevent vapours and flames. Kerosene cans are constructed differently than petrol cans and should never be substituted, nor should other storage containers, such as glass or plastic bottles. No matter what the container, never store fuel near an area with an open flame, such as an oil heater.

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A look at maintaining your Robin engine. Part 2

Other than regular maintenance, you also have to consider applications in extreme heat or cold and high altitudes.Altitudes above 1,500 metres may cause engines to start hard and perform poorly. In this altitude

you find that emissions also are typically higher, and you may also experience trouble with spark plugs. Modifying the carburettor will improve both performance and emission levels. Moving to a job site below 1,500 m requires converting the engine back to levels recommended by the manufacturer. Failure to do so will cause the engine to overheat and can result in damage.As well, on hot summer days, operating an engine after the mercury has moved past 37 ˚C can be problematic. Ensuring dirt does not obstruct an engine’s cooling mechanisms will help prevent problems with overheating. However, note that you should not attempt to cool a hot engine with water. The temperature difference between the water and the engine will  most likely damage the engine.

You also should check and change the oil and oil filter more frequently than normal when using an engine in hot weather. Take the heat into account when choosing the oil’s viscosity, as well.

On the other end of the thermometer, monitoring the oil’s viscosity remains important. If a cold front should move in before the oil has been changed to a more appropriate viscosity, move the machine to a warm, well-ventilated space before attempting to start the engine or change the oil.

Keeping the fuel tank full will prevent moisture from condensing inside the tank when it’s cold, which can cause problems with engine operation. Ensuring the battery remains well-charged also will combat problems an operator may face in a cold environment.

One trick to ease frustration if the machine needs to remain outside during winter and a big drop in temperature is  anticipated you can push the throttle to the middle of its speed range. Should ice form on the linkage, it will be easier to start the engine with the throttle in this position.Whether it’s the off-season or other circumstances that prevent operating your engine-powered equipment for more than 30 days, several steps need to be taken to protect the engine.

The first step in preparing an engine for storage is performing all of the suggested daily maintenance items, such as cleaning the engine and checking the air filter. Next, drain the fuel from the fuel tank and carburettor float chamber. This is one of the most important steps in preparing an engine for storage.

EX17Over time, the volatile components of fuel evaporate and the fuel becomes stale. Stale fuel makes starting the engine difficult, if not impossible, when the machine is taken out of storage. Although it is usually suggested to drain the fuel, filling the tank with new fuel and adding a fuel stabiliser is another option for preventing a stale fuel situation.To prevent corrosion in the cylinder bore during storage, remove the spark plug and inject a few drops of oil through the spark plug hole. Gently pull the recoil starter knob two or three times before the spark plug is placed back in the spark plug hole. As well, pull the recoil starter knob until the resistance is felt, and leave it in that position. End the process with a final engine cleaning before placing a protective cover over the unit. Then you can store this and in a dry place.

When returning the engine to service, ensure the oil viscosity is adequate for the temperatures expected. Check the fuel lines and filter, making sure they are still secure and have not cracked. Be sure that the throttle, choke and governor linkages move freely before starting the engine.

The initial start for an engine coming out of storage may be slow and there could be smoke for a few minutes until any oil in the cylinder burns off. If the engine fails to start, check the spark plug since it may have been fouled by the oil added to the cylinder before the machine was stored. Clean or replace the spark plug before attempting to start the engine again.Whether you’re preparing an engine for storage, adapting it to the weather or just keeping an eye out for warning signs, giving an engine the attention it deserves will go a long way toward keeping it out of trouble.

Until our next post.

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A Look at Maintaining Your Robin Engine

EY20While we haven’t made too much noise about it, we do sell and service Robin engines and power equipment. If you own one, you may want to consider some of the points we cover in this post.
Let’s face it, regular maintenance of any piece of equipment pays off in the end. Not only through longer service life, but also in savings in running costs. Plus, consider the inconvenience of a engine failing you at the worse possible moment. You may be up for a replacement (whether a purchase or hire) at a time you least expect. And, whatever job you’re working on has to wait.

If you use your Robin product for work, the consequences are even worse.

That engines will require daily and periodic maintenance is a given. We should also be aware of the audible and visual signs of unexpected maintenance needs. Operators of this type of equipment should also take into consideration working conditions and how they affect engine performance. Proper engine storage shouldn’t be overlooked either.Addressing the small issues early on, making appropriate environmental adjustments and following storage guidelines will all help prevent engine troubles from creeping up in the future.

If an engine is experiencing hard starts, the valve clearance on the intake and exhaust valves should be checked and adjusted according to manufacturer’s specifications. When checking the valve clearance, position the piston at the top dead centre of the compression stroke and ensure the engine is cold.

After the clearance is adjusted, rotate the crankshaft and check the valve clearance again.

A reduction in power is often an indication that the cylinder head and carburettor need to be inspected and cleaned. Check the cylinder head’s valves, seats, ports and guides and remove any carbon or gum deposits from the components. Check the air filter as well.If the recoil rope hangs loose and doesn’t completely return, this could be a sign that water has intruded the recoil started assembly. This indicates the lubricant may have been washed off. Remove the recoil return and apply additional lubrication to fix the problem. Ignoring the issue can result in a broken rope or eventual damage to the recoil starter.

Additionally, a loss of power or a smoking engine may signal an internal engine problem. Here’s where smoke-colour is important to note.

For instance, blue-coloured smoke indicates that the engine is using oil. This problem tends to be more common on cold days. Check that the breather hoses are plugged and check the piston rings, which may be bad, to determine the cause of the smoke.If the smoke is black in colour,  this normally indicates that the fuel/air mixture is too rich. Incorrect mixtures of air and fuel cause the majority of carburettor problems; therefore, it is important to prevent clogged jets, air passages and fuel passages that keep air and fuel from flowing freely.


Also check the carburettor for dirty or defective parts and clean or replace them if needed. A change in elevation also may cause black smoke, in which case the engine should be modified to handle the difference. If basic troubleshooting maintenance techniques fail to work, have a trained mechanic conduct a leakdown test or compression test to determine the cause for any smoking or power reduction.

Like smoke colours, different noises also can indicate specific problems. For instance, if the engine begins to make a popping noise or backfire, the mixture of fuel and air is likely too lean in the carburettor. A knocking noise will generally indicate a worn connecting rod, while a tinny or metallic sound may mean something is loose.More tips on our next post.

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