What You Need to Know This Safety Awareness Month

The industrial sector has made huge strides in improving workplace safety for employees. But even with new regulations and standards in place, employers and staff members have a big part to play in ensuring the safety of the entire team.

Now that it’s June, which has been designated as National Safety Month by the National Safety Council, we felt it was the perfect time to review important OSHA standards and protective products for those in the industrial space.

Understanding the New OSHA Silica Enforcement

While the industrial sector has been working hard to reduce silica dust exposure for years, OSHA has recently come up with new enforcement updates to support this mission. Exposure to silica dust has long been known to cause respiratory illnesses including cancer, so it’s crucial to minimize risk.

OSHA’s final rule contains two standards, one for the Construction sector and one for General Industry and Maritime. Though the Construction enforcement was originally set to begin this month, it has been pushed back to September 23, 2017 to allow for additional outreach and education. The General Industry and Maritime enforcement is set to begin June 23, 2018.

The new rule will decrease the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of silica dust to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air. It will also require employers to limit exposure through water and ventilation and by providing respirators when necessary. Medical exams will also be provided to workers who are highly exposed to provide a better understanding of their health and risk for developing related diseases. Training will also be a major component of the new plan.

Products Designed to Protect Workers

Silica dust is one of many hazards in the workplace. Loud noises, sharp objects, flying debris, and caustic substances are all relatively common at a job site. Protect workers with products designed for these types of situations.

Breathing Protection

Breathing protection equipment like face masks are important for workers who may be exposed to dust and particulates. This goes beyond protection from silica dust, as many materials can result in harm if inhaled. There are different types of respirators and masks to serve different applications, so find the right type of respirator or mask for your job.

Hearing Protection

Hearing protection products in the form of earplugs will help workers who are exposed to loud noises as part of their job. Heavy equipment operators will likely need some form of protection to prevent hearing loss in the long term.

Hand Protection

Just about any industrial professional can benefit from wearing gloves. Whether protecting your hands from heat and sparks during welding, sharp splinters from handling lumbar, or corrosive chemical substances – your hands are your greatest tool, so make sure they’re covered with the right type of gloves.

Eye Protection

You can’t work safely if you can’t see what you’re doing. That’s why proper eyewear is important – it shields your eyes from shrapnel, dust, and other irritants that may impact your vision or cause injury. Look for safety glasses that fit your face so you won’t have to keep readjusting them, and then consider lens cleaners to keep them free from smudges.

By providing workers with proper protective equipment, employers are better able to deliver a safe workplace for employees. It also helps job sites conform to current OSHA standards of safety. While June is the perfect time to highlight this goal, safety is an issue that must be addressed year-round. For more information on products and services that align with your safety plan, feel free to reach out to United Surface Preparation at 1-800-322-1413.

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Get Ready for Spring Cleaning With These Supplies and Tips

It’s hard to believe it’s already spring, and that means it’s time to take stock of your supplies and get to work cleaning your facility! Spring cleaning isn’t just a time to get your home in order, it’s also the perfect time to perform regular maintenance, repairs, and inspections on the plant floor.

Top MRO Cleaning Supplies

Floor Cleaning Product

Twister Floor Conditioner

Maintenance, Repair, and Operations professionals (MROs) will probably need to stock up on supplies like dust and spray filters. These products aren’t usually top of mind, but they are critical in keeping facilities clean and healthy. If you find your allergies acting up indoors, you may need to replace your air filters.

MROs should also consider switching out their buffing pads to produce the cleanest surfaces. Frequent use will not only trap dirt and particles in old buffing pads, it will cause the pads themselves to become worn and ineffective. Now’s the perfect time to order a new supply.

Concrete Cleaning Supplies                                                                         

Spring is the perfect time to refresh floors and concrete structures with a thorough cleaning and conditioning.

Ameripolish’s multi-purpose rejuvenating cleaner  will get your concrete floors shining like new. You can also try Twister Floor Conditioner along with new HTC Twister Pads to buff out rough patches and get a deep clean. The Twister Pads have an abrasive surface to eliminate hard-to-reach grime.

Service Inspections

Regular service inspections and preventative maintenance plans are vital to ensure machines and facilities are running smoothly. Without regular maintenance and inspections, little problems from wear and tear can easily grow. Over time, this can slow down or even halt operations.

All it takes is one malfunction to derail your whole process. Get ahead of any issues by incorporating inspections into your spring cleaning plans. This is the perfect time to replace rusty bolts or valves, and check on productivity benchmarks for your machines.

While we have outlined a few recommendations on how to get your spring cleaning started, there are many more ways to get your facility prepped now that the seasons are changing. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your product needs, feel free to call 1-800-322-1413.

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Highlights from Our Spring Concrete Polishing Training Seminar

No matter what industry you’re in, it’s vital to stay on top of the latest trends and best practices. For this reason, United Surface Preparation hosts semi-annual Concrete Polishing Seminars in which we invite contractors to come for a 2-day training event.

Decorative Concrete Prep

Demonstrating Concrete Preparation Techniques

This spring, on April 4th and 5th we opened our doors to about two dozen attendees who were interested in learning more about modern concrete polishing. Each day featured a packed schedule from 9am to 4pm, and included complimentary breakfast and lunch. The event took place at our corporate headquarters, 900 Lund Boulevard, Anoka, MN.

The seminar focused on concrete grinding/polishing, overlay, and dye/stain instructions. Instructors for the program included representatives from Metzger/McGuire, Ameripolish, HTC Professional Floor Systems, and CTS Cement.

Each representative showcased different tools and techniques from their product lines. Metzger/McGuire demonstrated an epoxy joint filler, Ameripolish featured their 3DHS Densifier and EZ Etch products, HTC featured their Duratiq, Twister Pads, and EZ Change Diamond Tools, and CTS Cement/Rapid Set featured their Rapid Set Cement Products.

In addition to the demonstrations, training materials were provided by United Surface Preparation, and included an equipment overview and tool education, grinding guides, concrete protection, and concrete coloring techniques.

By seeing first-hand how products are used, attendees get a better understanding of how

Polished Concrete

Stained and Polished Concrete

to incorporate these methods into their own processes. It’s also a unique opportunity to ask questions about how and why certain tasks are done a certain way, and which products might be better for one job than another.

Being able to refer back to the training materials after the event also helps attendees process the information they’ve just taken in, and serves as a reference point in case they forget something later on. Together, these trainings and guides improve the skills and capabilities of concrete professionals.

We’re proud to be able to provide this service to our trusted customers, and are grateful for the participation of our industry partners in providing this necessary training.

Couldn’t attend the seminar? We’ve posted concrete training highlights on YouTube! Feel free to watch the videos and let us know if you have any questions or would like to know more about when we’ll have our next sessions.

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United Surface Prep Gives Back to Our Community

We didn’t let the snow stop us this winter. Instead, we participated in two community service initiatives in the area.

First, we took part in the S.P.R.I.N.G. Project (Sanctuary Protection and Renewal Into the Next Generation). The Project aims to bring new life to the 7-acre Springbrook Nature Center by expanding the interpretive center to allow for more community events and public education. The state of Minnesota recently awarded the Center a $5 million grant to go toward this mission, and United Surface Preparation donated supplies including Densifier, an  , and various tooling supplies to help get the job done. The Springbrook Nature Center is a fundamental part of our community, and we’re happy to be able to help this growth-oriented project. We even got a plaque in recognition of our efforts from the Mayor of Fridley, MN, Scott Lund.

Mall of America JDRF Walk

Minneapolis/St. Paul JDRF One Walk

We also took part in the Minneapolis/St. Paul JDRF One Walk on February 25, 2017. The walk took place at the Mall of America and aims to not only raise awareness of juvenile diabetes (type 1 diabetes), but also to raise funds to help find an eventual cure. We have a number of employees who are personally impacted by this often misrepresented disease, so it’s important for us to come together as a company to show our support and work towards a cure. This year we donated $1,000 as starting line sponsors. In the past, we’ve donated our time and services by cleaning the coins tossed into the Mall of America fountains so they could be donated to the JDRF organization. There are so many ways to contribute to a cause like this.

At United Surface Preparation, community service is a fundamental part of who we are as a company. Year after year, we look forward to giving back to our community in new ways.

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World of Concrete 2017 & the AFS Wisconsin Regional Foundry Conference

The year has only just begun and already we’re in the thick of industry trade shows. From January 17-20th, 2017, representatives from United Surface Preparation took part in World of Concrete 2017. More than 50,000 people registered for the event, along with nearly 1,500 exhibiting companies. While we didn’t exhibit at this show, we were there in support of a few manufacturers, including Pullman Ermator, HTC Duratiq, Metzger McGuire, and McNeilus.

Shows like World of Concrete are a great way to stay in touch with customers and vendors, bringing everyone together at least once a year to discuss industry trends and business opportunities face-to-face.

After World of Concrete, we hit the road again to attend the 79th American Foundry Society Wisconsin Regional Foundry Conference and Exposition in Milwaukee, WI. The show took place from February 8-10, 2017, and brought together foundry professionals for networking, technical sessions, exhibitions, students engaging in casting competitions, and more. As members of the American Foundry Society, United Surface Preparation frequently takes part in events that keep us involved and updated on the latest metalcasting industry developments and processes.

We are always happy to show our support for our valued customers and manufacturers, and appreciate the chance to get together for industry events such as these. To stay updated in between shows, feel free to keep in touch by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn, where we post additional information. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Recapping 2016, and Looking Forward to the New Year

This past year saw many ups and downs, and will be remembered throughout history  thanks to a historic and tumultuous election season. However, many other notable events happened this year that also deserve recognition.

Back in November, the annual FABTECH show brought together manufacturing leaders and enthusiasts. Attendees included metal formers, fabricators, welders, and more. The show provided everyone with the chance to meet new prospects and buyers, while collecting information on the latest technological and industrial developments. More than 1,300 manufacturing companies exhibited this year, providing countless opportunities for networking and product demonstrations.

United Surface Preparation was in attendance, supporting a number of manufacturing companies we work with; Wheelabrator Group (Norican), Apex Machinery, Michigan Pneumatic Tools, 3M, Dynabrade Tools, Arc Abrasives, AM Machinery Sales & Service, and Gibson Blast Equipment, to name a few.

We also took advantage of learning opportunities, networking events, and other highlights of the show. Overall, we saw many examples of what manufacturing will look like in the future.

In the coming year, we expect business to begin getting back to normal throughout the industrial sector as things calm down post-election. We’re anticipating gradual growth, which is already starting to be seen throughout industry. Trends such as additive manufacturing and smart manufacturing thanks to the Internet of Things are expected to pick up the pace in 2017. An overarching goal is to improve productivity and efficiency, so it can also be expected to see greater automation on the shop floor.

What are your big predictions for 2017? Let us know on Twitter.

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United Surface Prep Works to Support our Brands through Trade Shows and Hosted Events

This fall is shaping up to be a busy one for us! We will be traveling to trade shows, exhibiting, and hosting a special VIP event at our facility.

First up is our trip to IMTS the week of Sept. 12. We aren’t exhibiting at the show but will be there to support the lines we carry. IMTS is the largest manufacturing show in the country with over 2,000 exhibiting companies and 114,000+ attendees. Held every two years in Chicago, this show brings manufacturing industry professionals from around the world together with leading manufacturers of products and productivity solutions.

On September 20th we will be hosting a VIP event for contractors and professionals in the concrete polishing industries for a private presentation of HTC’s newest innovations. HTC is the leading manufacturer of professional floor systems with cutting edge technology for grinding, polishing, and preparing concrete or stone.  This event features an exclusive product demonstration as well as food and beverages, gifts and prizes. This exclusive unveiling of their latest innovation will take place from 1-5 pm at our offices in Anoka, MN.

Finally, on October 20-22nd we will be attending and exhibiting at CP&S the International Concrete Polishing & Staining Conference and Expo in Milwaukee, WI. Attendees include polishing, flooring, resurfacing, and coatings contractors; designers, architects, and engineers; and specification writers. We will be showcasing the newest innovations from HTC in Booth 300.

We are looking forward to polishing our people skills this fall and hope you will join us at these exciting industry events.

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