Monday, 18 November 2013

A very useful exercise

Almost every enquiry we receive involves the mention of portable weighpads.

Weighpads are a terrific product but they do have limitations and can be unpleasant to use when the weather is poor. It's important to use them only for the right applications as they are not the best in every application.

There are certain applications though for which they are ideal and we got involved in one such application last week.

A customer approached us asking if we could help with a health and safety training exercise. All the vehicles to be weighed were 2-axle rigids and the weighing needed to be done at three different locations on two different days.

This is the perfect scenario for using portable weighpads but even so it's not just a case of turning up, throwing the pads on the ground and weighing vehicles. It needs to be done properly to get the best results.

Fortunately all the weighing was done in an area of the country known for being flat so the first requirement, finding a level piece of ground, was quite easy. The more level the ground is, the better the results will be. If there is a slope, then arrange to do the weighing ACROSS the slope NOT up or down it.

Having found a level piece of ground, make sure there are no stones in the area. Ideally, sweep the area to make sure it's clear. A stone under the weighpad could cause an inaccurate weighing and in some circumstances, a heavy wheel could push the stone through the bottom of the pad causing expensive damage and curtailing the weighing exercise instantly.

The weighpads we provide are very low profile which means vehicles can easily get up onto them. Even so, on a day when it's raining the pads can slip on wet ground.
Portable weighpad picture
Portable weighpads - ideal if used correctly for the right job

This is something that is often not appreciated. So many people assume that they can just place the pads on the ground and leave them there. Unfortunately not, someone needs to be there supervising the weighing to make sure the pads are positioned correctly and do not slip out of position..

Even our slim weighpads can be shifted along the ground by an axle accelerating to get onto or off them. Higher, cheaper weighpads are far worse and often getting an axle onto them is impossible.

A supervisor is also required to make sure the drivers do things gently and to make sure wheels are positioned in the middle of the pad.

Drivers being drivers will often think they need to accelerate hard to get onto the pads. Some of the 'boy racer types' will even do it deliberately despite being told by the supervisor to do it gently.

There's a health and safety issue here as well. A vehicle which accelerates hard can cause the pads to fly out from under a wheel possibly hitting anyone in the vicinity and causing a nasty injury. We've seen it happen.

We completed the weighing exercise for our client who was very pleased with the results.

We didn't find any vehicles that were overloaded but we did find one or two that were very close and it wouldn't have taken much more load to cause a problem.

It was a very useful exercise which showed up how careful they have to be to avoid overloading and got the Health & Safety advisors who were there thinking about the issue.

The customer is now in the process of buying some pads of his own so that he can do his own training on a regular basis but on this occasion we were pleased to help out.

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