Operators are one of the most important components in the plant industry and without us nothing would get done, fact! Coming from an operator background, at UK Plant Operators we think we know what’s important for an operator, and we’re not just talking wages here, it is all about the creature comforts! In cab tech, work wear and even cleaning products, they are all important. Each edition we will pick four tried and tested products that we feel might be of use to you.
The Jabra Bluetooth hands free kit – £89.99
Using a mobile phone while driving has long since been outlawed, the same rulings are very much becoming the norm on construction sites and although we all have probably done it at some stage, it’s very much frowned upon now, and rightly so. I would not want the causing of an accident on my conscience.
While most modern machines are fitted with the option for Bluetooth these days, the problem is they are hard to operate and some are not of the best quality. Although the options are improving massively all the time, the rate at which machines are renewed means for us ops we won’t be getting a comms upgrade any time soon. From my own personal experiences I have found it a lot easier to just buy my own, carry it with me and no matter what machine I operate I’ve got it to hand – safe communication and a decent night’s sleep and no off hire.
Believe me when I say I’ve tried a few. There are all sorts of things to consider ranging from battery life to being able to hear it over a machine, to what other functions it offers.
Having taken all the above into consideration, the one I use is a Jabra Freeway system. Its holds a good charge, is nice and loud and has many functions including FM connection where it transmits to your radio on a frequency so you can it playing through the speakers. This is the Bluetooth hands-free kit I would choose. Enjoy!
The second item in my list is cleaning product. I’m sure you’ve all tried a few, including the expensive service station dash flash and class cleaner that turn everything really shiney and sticky.
I was lucky to be introduced to the Auto Smart range by a valeting friend and in true operator fashion I’m passing this advice on to you guys. Although this stuff is basically trade only it’s very easy to get sorted. Auto Smart guys tend to be like Snap-On reps. They drive round in vans all over the shop and once you’ve made contact they are more than happy to meet you once a month and sort you out with all you need. Although they offer a wide range of products there are only three that you really need: Finish – a great all round cleaning product which leaves a nice matte finish on all surfaces. It’s non-sticky and smells nice;
Glass Clean – this is a well rounded glass cleaner that does not leave any marks;
Colbolt – this is a really nice polish for the exterior of the machine that leaves a high gloss finish and is easy to apply. It lasts for ages too, even when washed.
If you have a good relationship with your rep air fresheners will be on tap as well. And don’t forget a few micro fibre cloths, these are a must.
Work Wear – Engelbert-Strauss
Hi-viz attire is a standard across all sites – often branded with your company logo. The problem for us self-employed operators is we have to pay for our own kit, and although we can often blag the odd pair of trousers or a vest, most of it is cheap and nasty, and you really need something that is comfortable and not going to pop a button every five minutes – trust me I’ve been there!
I’ve tried a fair few products in my time, but now I have found a company that provides truly amazing kit, Engelbert-Strauss. This Swedish manufacturer makes good quality work wear that’s hard wearing, long lasting and made to fit all sizes. It’s UK ISO compliant and available in hi-viz options. It might be a bit pricy but you get what you pay for here.
There are some UK stockists like Steelwrist UK and you can order direct from there website
Cat Cool bag – £12.80
We have all experienced the soggy sandwich scenario, or even worse on a hot day the completely melted chocolate bar. Not all operators have the luxury of going to the canteen or even access to a supermarket to buy a pasty. The reality is we are stuck in the cab in the middle of the field, and even if we were allowed off site to get food, you’re not going to be able to do much in half an hour.
Bring on the Cat cool bag! I was given one of these at a trade show and it been the best bag I have ever had. It’s the prefect size and great for keeping your lunch nice and cool. It’s made well and has lasted me for years and even though I’m not in the machine as much as I used to be, I still use it for the beach and day trips.