Included in this category are trucks, trenchers, and construction trailers; ladders, scaffolds, and work platforms; storage bins and boxes; lubricants, cleaners, inhibitors; safety items; and software.
The average jobsite will have a wide variety of vehicles, equipment, and safety items that are used in the process of construction. Without them, progress would be much slower and a lot less safe. Of course, OSHA requirements have forced the development of many new products for personnel safety. Nevertheless, any construction project will require the contractor to include in his contract price the cost of operating these vehicles and equipment, and of providing the necessary safety items. As a result, many new time and labor saving products, both capital and operational, are constantly being introduced.
Vehicles fitted with specialized equipment play very large roles in the installation and maintenance of electrical systems. Panel trucks and those with custom bodies that contain compartments for tools and parts are a part of all electrical contractors' fleets. Larger trucks with an insulated bucket have become essential tools in high work such as on polelines, the setting of light fixtures, and similar tasks.
Certain specialized equipment, such as equipment for digging and setting poles, can be made additions onto vehicles. Trenchers and cable-laying equipment tend to be more custom designed for that purpose. Large trucks for transporting and paying out large reels of cable also play important roles, as does motorized equipment for pulling large cable through long runs of undergound duct.
Similar equipment for the installation of long continuous lengths of fiberoptic cable is specialized due to the critical importance of maintaining the correct and allowable pulling tensions when working with that medium.
Construction trailers are often the first items that appear on a jobsite. They function as the onsite offices for supervisory and design personnel, in addition to serving as a contractor's field office. Other trailers are fitted with storage racks for the construction materials and parts that will eventually be needed on the project.
Scaffolding and ladders are two items that are especially critical in the construction and maintenance of electrical systems. Fiberglass ladders are increasingly used because of their light weight, strength, and inherent safety when used near potentially energized circuits. Scaffolding is essential to reaching lighting fixtures, busways, and other components of electrical systems that are located overhead. Often they must be tailored for access through narrow aisles, or for exceptional heights.
In addition, self-powered work platforms perform much the same function. They are usually powered either by battery or LP gas, and telescope up to the desired working height. Some can even be operated from the platform. Performance characteristics vary with manufacturer. Typical motors include scissors-type and knuckle-arm variations.
Safety is a prime concern when working around electrical equipment. Protective garments, such as safety glasses, nonconductive hard-hats, and insulated gloves and blankets, are essential. However, warning signs, tags, and padlocks play equally important roles at the jobsite. Danger tags are just as effective as padlocks in preventing a system from being unexpectedly energized, as long as a meaningful program ensures that everyone obeys the rules.
The recent revision to OSHA's lockout/tagout rules point out the importance of these safety devices. As a result, many new products are available, including tagout tags with photos of the electrician who is tagging out the respective circuit.
Marker strips to warn of underground electrical services, barriers and other means of defining areas from which nonqualified persons are to be excluded during testing or other operations, are all a part of required safety programs which should be followed.