What to do in Your Downtime

OK, this is the time of year that you may be slow. If you are then it’s the perfect time to do some planning. What could you do this time of year? Well, I have a list. This is something you should do every couple of months but many companies get slow this time of year so why not now?


First thing you should do is get your vehicles in order. Make sure you have the maintenance and inspection schedules understood. Chances are you know what month they are do but it’s a good thing to look at and know when you will take them in. That way it is not so last-minute.

Go to my products page and look for something you may need. If you are starting out I have an eBook or Audiobook, Tower Climbing: An Introduction for you. If you work at tower sites I have the Field Worker’s Aid for Tower Site Work. If you want to make understand the SOW and how it can help you get paid or at least take the customer to court go ahead and order my SOW Training files. Maybe you want to look over the free SOW Overview first. Go ahead and share the information! Let others know.

You should inventory your truck. If you have a day then take everything out. Take inventory of all of your supplies. Anything you use daily, like tie wraps, vapor seal, nuts & bolts, connectors, caulk, anything that you use, stock up. Now is the time. It beats running to Lowes or Home Depot while on site. However, remember that some caulk will freeze and may not be good after it’s frozen.

Inspect all of your safety gear. This is the perfect time to get out your safety gear and look it over. Inspect it. Take inventory, what is missing and what do you need? If you were working in the snow or rain, take it somewhere it can dry out. Remember that the cold and wet are very hard on the gear. Some people do this but if you are traveling all the time it is easy to leave it in the truck. Don’t get lazy, inspect and replace if needed. If you are missing gear, then get it ordered!

Don’t forget to look over your rope, inspect it, dry it out, replace it if you need to. Make the old life lines tag lines. Inspect your steel cables, hardware lanyard, and carabiners. Look them over, make sure they are acceptable for the job you will give them.

Inventory your tools. Tools have a habit of walking away and we may forget about them by the time we make the 4 to 8 hour drive home. Well, now is the time to look over all of your tools. Make sure you have everything and if you don’t then replace it.

Inspect your vehicle, look at the tires and look at when the oil needs changed. If there is a problem you know about that could leave you sitting somewhere, now is the time to take care of it.

Catch up on all of your paperwork, now is the time. If you are a contractor you may need to prepare for tax time. Clean it all up. This is not fun but it is necessary. Make sure you have all of the customer’s paperwork in and ready to send out. This could be tedious and you should have done most of it while on site. Just take the time to clean it all up.

Do you know your deployment schedule for the next month? Then make a plan for the roll-out. Whether you work from a playbook or a maintenance schedule you should start planning who will go where and plan out the duration of each trip. Don’t wait until the last-minute and be prepared to change it last-minute. We know it’s hard to set a firm schedule but it really helps to set a tentative one and remain flexible.

Do you know the on call schedule? This is a good time to update it. Give people plenty of time to make changes if it won’t work for them. That should be planned out months in advance.

One more thing I like to do this time of year is look back and see what worked and what didn’t. This is good to do several times a year but this time of year you may have time to think about what to do better next year. If you are an owner or a lead, take the time to review some paperwork, like the hazard assessments and the close out packages. Not all of them but just randomly pick some. Are they being filled out so they are site specific or does it look like the people are making them all the same just to finish them quickly? It pays to take the time to see if the crew is actually thinking about the work when they do it or if they just complete the paperwork because they have to. There is a big difference.

Do you make the most of downtime? Let me know what you do!

Have a safe year everyone!

Be smart, be safe, pay attentions and follow the plan, then adapt, improvise, and overcome to be successful.

Remember to help the Hubble Foundation because they help the families of the climbers.


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