My job as a salesperson does not end after I receive a PO. Training and customer service are a large part of the service that I offer my customers. According to this NRCA article, roofing contractors are investing in more technology to help improve equipment safety. Technology alone is not the answer; technology combined with employee training is a step in the right direction. A couple of weeks ago, I sold a Graco 833 sprayer to a commercial roofer. My customer asked if I could give an overview and train his crew since they had never used one before. Without hesitation, I immediately said yes. The primary reason was the safety concerns I had.
On the day of the training the crew was halfheartedly interested. I started off with an overview of the unit’s specs, 4000psi, 4gpm, able to spay a variety of materials, etc. One of the key points I stressed was that 4000 psi could cut through the skin. Or even worse, if the spray found its way into a main artery, it could find its way to the heart and kill someone. Now I had their attention.
The Graco 833 has certain specifications for safety purposes, but those specs only go so far. Based on my experiences, I went on to recommend that the customer have a “buddy system” when they assemble the sprayer; one person to oversee the other and confirm proper set up. The key components of job safety when using the Graco 833 sprayer include making sure that the hose and gun meet the psi rating of the sprayer and all connections are tight.
The importance of this buddy system is to cross train within the crew and to have a certain amount of redundancy built in. Some years back I had a customer that had a wide variety of spray materials, both high and low pressure. The crews would come in to our Hayward location to get hoses and guns on occasion. I would always try ask what they were spraying in order to fit them with the right parts and equipment. Nine times out of ten, either because of a language barrier or just not knowing, the crews couldn’t tell me for sure what it was.
Through the process of elimination, I would do my best to get them back to work. Without physically seeing the equipment, this wasn’t enough. Because the crews were so untrained, disaster finally happened. One day they put a low pressure hose and gun on a high pressure sprayer. The low pressure gun burst under pressure and sent the operator to the hospital.
I cannot stress enough the importance of in-depth and routine training when it comes to spray equipment. The key is having as many of the crew members familiar with proper setup and maintenance of the equipment.
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