Ask Angela: Helping crew members feel safe after the shutdown

Angela Phillips is a Senior Account Manager III at ZTERS Waste Solutions. She helps customers with some of their most challenging site service issues, and she answers your questions here on our website.

Dear Angela, Now that work is ramping back up from the Covid-19 shutdown, how can we help our crew members feel safe being back on the worksite?

This is a great question that a lot of people are asking right now. We know many construction sites continued operation throughout the shutdown because construction is considered an essential business in many places. However, we’re also seeing areas that were previously shut down now slowly starting to resume projects. Every state is different, and we’ve seen a wide range of experiences with our customers.

Like most businesses, we keep a close eye on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and they have a Community Mitigation Framework with guidelines around protecting workers and the public in general when congregating at work or in public places. This includes things like practicing social distancing of at least six feet, hand washing regularly, sanitizing areas more frequently, and wearing masks where appropriate.

On a construction site, some of these things can be more difficult—sometimes two-person lifting means you have to stand closer than six feet! However, there are still protections we’re seeing our customers and vendors implement.

For one, portable toilets and common areas like mobile offices are being disinfected more frequently and many jobsites are ordering extra handwashing stations to make sure people can wash their hands more frequently.

We also see a lot of safety managers recommending crew members practice social distancing as much as possible and wear a mask when it doesn’t affect the safety of the work you’re doing. We also see some sites requiring crew members to take their temperature before starting work.

The Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America put out a series of guidelines around worker safety in a post-COVID-19 world. They have social distancing recommendations specifically for construction sites. This includes a “no congregation” rule and not allowing food trucks on worksites. This may mean having safety meetings in smaller groups and asking crew members to bring their own lunch and space themselves further than six feet apart when they eat.  

It’s a good idea to check with your local regulatory agencies to find out if there are any special requirements in your area.

There will definitely be an adjustment period to these new rules. We recommend our customers use resources like these to come up with a written safety plan and communicate it to crew members. Having a written plan and following safety guidelines will go a long way toward protecting crew members and helping people feel safe being back on the jobsite.

We know there have been a lot of delays and back orders when it comes to handwashing stations, so give us a call to find out what’s available in your area and how to get more coverage on your site.

Temporary office trailers: What to know before you rent

Temporary office trailers serve many functions. From construction companies to schools undergoing renovations, mobile office trailers are used in many industries to provide essential space for performing essential duties on a jobsite. Renting a temporary office trailer isn’t complicated, but here’s what you need to know before you rent. Asking these questions will help you avoid wasting money on a trailer that doesn’t fit your needs.   

How will you use the temporary office trailer?

Before you get started, ask yourself the basics. How big should the trailer be? What capabilities should the trailer have? Office trailers are used to provide onsite office space for people who need a desk and a comfortable chair to sit in. They may have electricity, but little else. That may be all you need for your jobsite.

However, larger office trailers can be ordered that offer amenities like a restroom, more than one office space, closet space or a small kitchen. Before you decide whether these functions are needed, you should first decide what your organization will do in the office.

Ask your team:

  • Who will use the office space?
  • How many people will need to use it at the same time?
  • How many pieces of furniture must fit in the office?
  • Will the space need to be large enough for meetings or gatherings?

Where will the office trailer go?

To answer this question, consider factors like foot traffic, vehicle traffic and work activity on the site. Place the office in a location where it will be out of the way of vehicles and employees, but convenient for the people who need to access it. Other factors to consider include noise and accessibility. Noise in the environment around the office may make working inside the office difficult. In addition, if the office is not properly accessible, then it defeats the purpose of having an office onsite. 

What are the delivery requirements?

The rental company may require someone to be on site when the mobile office is delivered. They may also need special access to the site, and the road leading to the site should be adequately wide and in good condition. Find out what requirements must be fulfilled to make the delivery and ensure you can provide those conditions when it’s time to receive the unit.  

Need storage space?

Some mobile office models provide office space and storage space. Businesses like construction companies often need both, so find out if you’ll need additional storage units along with an office. Work with project managers, foremen and other site supervisors to decide whether the jobsite needs storage containers in addition to an office. There are also storage container/mobile office container combos that are economical for small construction jobs where space is needed for both purposes.  

Are permits required?

Many communities require permits for temporary mobile offices. Before you can install a mobile office, even if the office space is only meant to be temporary, contact your local city hall or permitting office to find out what permits are required in your area. The permitting office may have height or size requirements that must be considered before the office can be installed, so contact them about permits before ordering an office with a rental company. 

Whether you have a small renovation or a major new-build construction site, we’ve been helping project managers order temporary offices for more than a decade. Let us help you get a mobile office trailer set up on your next worksite.

ZTERS COMMERCIAL WASTE OFFERS COMPOLOGY CAMERA SYSTEMS TO ADJUST WASTE SERVICE

New technology helps companies right-size their waste and recycling streams.

Houston, Texas, April 24, 2020 – To keep pace with recent changes in commercial building usage due to COVID-19, the commercial waste division of ZTERS Waste Solutions began offering Compology camera systems in their dumpsters to help companies adapt their waste pickup schedules and become more efficient.

“We found many property owners and facility managers were either adjusting to empty office buildings and strip malls, and they needed to reduce their pickup levels. Or they were dealing with increased waste production, such as in multifamily apartment buildings and condos where more waste is being produced. Compology cameras help us right-size their waste service,” says Dan Studer, Commercial Waste Division Manager at ZTERS.

A major issue over the last couple of months has been finding the right service schedule to meet changing waste volumes. It is not always easy for owners and managers to measure waste output, and that leads to either too many or too few pickups—and overpaying for waste service.

Compology cameras are the latest technology in waste management. Cameras provide more than a view into dumpster levels; they also provide data to help determine how waste volume is changing and what pickup schedules would be most efficient.

“This system helps us provide better service to our customers and saves them money at a time when many businesses are working hard to adjust to circumstances,” Studer says.

The ZTERS commercial waste division works with retail, warehouse, industrial and multifamily properties nationwide to provide reliable, competitive waste and recycling services. For more information on how property owners and facility managers are adapting their waste pickups during the shutdown, contact Dan Studer at ZTERS.

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ABOUT ZTERS

ZTERS has been named one of Inc. 5000’s Fastest-Growing Companies and a Houston Chronicle Best Workplace. Since 2009, the company has provided top-rated waste solutions, including dumpsters, portable toilets, temporary fencing, storage containers, and portable offices to construction sites. They also offer commercial waste services to warehouses, industrial, retail, and restaurant facilities. A customer-first approach means every project has a dedicated account manager who provides an upfront quote with no hidden fees. Find out more at www.zters.com/commercial-waste

CONTACT: Dan Studer, ZTERS Commercial Waste Division Manager, dan@zters.com

New dumpster camera technology for better waste management

What if smart technology could help you know when your dumpster is full? Better yet, what if that technology could help you optimize your pickup schedule so you’re not paying to empty air from your dumpsters? Think about how many times you’ve been charged for a half-empty pickup—or perhaps worse, you’ve had an overflow of garbage mid-week because your facility produced more garbage than you expected. Adding dumpster camera technology helps you find exactly the right service schedule for your facilities.

Testing new dumpster tech

A few months ago, we started testing camera systems on our commercial waste dumpsters. We monitored how accurately they measure waste volume (they’re pretty accurate!), and we tested whether they actually helped our customers adjust their pickup schedule to be more efficient.

Here’s what we found. After installing Compology camera systems in our dumpsters at several locations, we were able to monitor how much waste was generated in a week and we helped our customers fine-tune their service schedule based on output.

Right sizing with dumpster cameras

The real test was how the system would work during the massive changes brought on by the COVID-19 shutdowns. As we expected, the locations with dumpster camera technology were able to quickly and easily adjust their service schedules in a matter of days, not months.

No one had to physically go out and check dumpsters multiple times a day. No one had to drive out to closed locations to check on waste volume. The cameras not only gave us a view into the dumpster for monitoring and security purposes, they also calculated an estimated waste output without anyone having to guestimate the math to figure out how much waste was being produced. It removed the guesswork from deciding how much to increase or decrease trash pickups.

Having the right number of pickups means no wasted effort, and no burden of unnecessary pickup costs.

Time and cost savings

And we discovered other benefits. We were able to conduct service verification, so we knew whether the dumpsters had been emptied without having to physically visit the location. We could also monitor recycling bins and notify our customers if there were bags of regular trash or other contaminants thrown in with the recycling.

You probably know contamination is a major cause of waste fees when they end up in your recycling bin. In some cases, a hauler won’t even pick up your recycling if they see a lot of regular trash bags or other waste in your bin. Rather than getting charged contamination fees or missing pickups entirely, we were able to monitor the situation and help owners and managers fix the problem before they got charged.

One final bonus we noticed is we helped reduce truck traffic rolling through our customers’ parking lot. By right sizing their waste pickups we prevented unnecessary truck trips. That means fewer alley way blockages and traffic jams around the facility as massive trucks maneuver around the building.

After putting camera technology to the test, we’re proud to offer this service to our customers.

Having cameras on your dumpsters helps you right size your waste pickup schedule, it helps you calculate your actual waste output, and it saves you from unnecessary contamination fees and truck traffic.  

Give us a call to find out how we’re adding Compology dumpster camera technology to our customers’ service plans. Find out how we can help you save with a smart camera system.