Years ago, the cleanup process usually was a manual job, wherein each of the workers would scout the area, picking up all visible material, before moving on to the next job. Not only was this method costly because it required a lot of time and labor, but it was also very ineffective. Particularly in rough terrain or grassy areas, it is nearly impossible to spot every small piece of dangerous metal debris, and the factor of human error is usually quite high.
Today, many construction companies rely on magnetic sweeper tools to make the cleanup process faster and easier. Depending on the size of the job, magnetic sweepers for construction site cleanup can make a 3 or 4 hour job into a 20 or 30 minute job. Furthermore, using a magnet to cleanup metal debris is much more effective, because the magnet will pick up even those pieces of metal that may not be readily visible from a person’s vantage point.
Roofing companies frequently utilize magnetic sweepers for cleanup. Because roofers use a lot of nails, many of which get dropped into the homeowner’s grass below, it’s important that the roofing company do a very thorough cleanup job before they leave the worksite. A magnetic sweeper is a tool mounted on a long handle, much like a push broom. At the base, magnetic strips pick up any lost nails or other metal debris from the ground. Some sweeper magnets feature wheels on each side, so that they can be easily rolled over the ground.
Some sweeper magnets may also employ the addition of a rake-like attachment at the base, to pick up any metal pieces that are buried in the grass. Hand operated sweeper magnets can range in size from as small as 10 or 12 inches wide, to as large as 36 inches wide. Many roofing companies will purchase multiple units so that, at the end of the day, each worker takes one sweeper and goes over a small area of the yard, making the cleanup process faster and easier for everyone. Nails and screws that are picked up can then be recycled and used the next day or at another job site.
For cleaning larger areas, such as scrap metal yards or parking lots, some firms will purchase large vehicle mounted magnetic sweepers. These units range in size from 48 inches to 72 inches wide, and can be suspended by chains from the front bumper of a vehicle. Some vehicle mounted sweeper magnets can also be hung from the forks of a skid loader, as well. These larger units are ideal for covering a large area in a short amount of time. The important thing to bear in mind with any sweeper magnet is that if it’s moved over the ground too quickly, it will not be as effective at picking up magnetic debris. Most magnetic sweepers, particularly vehicle mounted ones, have maximum operating speeds that should be closely followed.
For construction firms, not much has changed in the last 50 years with regard to the need to cleanup a work site after a job is completed. But when it comes to the methods and tools used in the cleanup process, a lot has changed. The use of magnetic tools like sweeper magnets has revolutionized our ability to clear an area of dangerous metal debris in a way that is much more efficient and effective than the manual methods of years past.