Utility contractors can be a tough crew to shop for. That’s why we’ve curated a list of some of the top items and gifts of the year that the utility workers in your life will actually use, both on and off the jobsite.
You will want to add some of these utility contractor essentials to your winter wish list so you can work faster, safer, and more comfortably in the new year.
1. This pullover hoodie from Lakeland is a convenient way to stay warm and comfortable on the job. Since a gaiter is stitched right in, there’s no need to carry a separate scarf or balaclava. This hoodie’s waffle-cut fabric is flexible and breathable, and the natural moisture-wicking technology makes it a great component of a multi-layer workwear system. Plus, it only weighs 8 oz., so aside from the super comfortable warmth, you won’t even realize it’s there.
2. This USB Rechargeable Headlamp from Streamlight is “intrinsically safe” because it has earned Class 1, Div. 1 safety ratings for industrial use. This lamp is also versatile and reliable. Users can choose from three modes: spot for distance, flood for area illumination, or a spot/flood combo for maximum light output of 250 lumens. The lithium-ion battery provides up to 7 hours of use when run on high, and as much as 13 hours when run on low. It only weighs 4.10 oz. so it’s easy to wear, and the bright-yellow color makes it hard to misplace.
3. Grammer suspension seating helps alleviate the strain, vibrations, and jarring that wear equipment operators down. The MSG65 Series represents the top end of the lineup. The suspension stroke is up to 2.3 or 3.1 inches depending on the model. A fore/aft isolator helps to further reduce horizontal vibrations which prevents jolts and jarring from the back. For additional operator comfort, lumbar support is easily adjustable. Other creature comfort features include a backrest extension, adjustable or foldable armrests, 170° of right swivel, and seat heating.
4. Simulation training from CM Labs is the new, technologically advanced way of training equipment operators. Trainees progress at their own pace to develop safe and proficient digging, lifting, and dumping techniques with everything from dozers, loaders, and excavators to forklifts, cranes, and boom trucks. Additionally, trainers are provided with valuable feedback as to how a trainee is progressing.
5. A Planet Underground membership is a utility pro’s gateway to invaluable insights, training solutions, and peer networking. Planet Underground is a knowledge-sharing organization focused on underground utility damage prevention. Its networking events in particular provide a productive way to learn about the latest tools, technologies, and techniques making an impact in the underground utility industry. Planet Underground’s “The Jobsite” was a popular feature of the 2021 Utility Expo and will be coming back again in 2023. Be sure to check it out and also learn more about the value Planet Underground can provide to your utility business.
6. Illumagear’s Sixth Sense detects voltage, currents, and jobsite falls to help keep utility workers safe. This sleek little device is only a couple of inches big and simply clips to a hardhat. It provides both visual and audible alerts, and detection sensitivity is easily adjustable from a mobile app. Fall detection can be set up to trigger text alerts so co-workers can respond to the scene of an accident.
7. A Goggle Guard Clip is a great way to keep your safety goggles or glasses nearby when you don’t have to be wearing them. It proves useful if you like to keep a couple sets of protective eyewear with you in the field. The high-quality plastic, dielectric clip simply snaps to the brim of most hard hats and certain bump caps. There’s even a pencil clip where you can also stow your go-to writing utensil.
8. ItemAware tool tracking helps you keep tabs on your valuable tools, equipment, and materials to reduce theft and misplacement. Simply add the tracking tags to the items you want to track, designate locations for each item, and download the app to begin tracking. You can even set up alerts for when items move in and out of their assigned locations.
9. Work Truck Steps from Carr provide an easy way to gain safer access to the side and top rack of any service truck. A step comes fully assembled and is easy to install, and then is easy to tuck away when not in use. When in use, the heavy-duty 1/8” steel frame can support up to 500 lbs. and the galvanized deck has a large non-skid surface with enough room for both feet.
10. Waterly is an app that allows utility workers to digitize and manage water and wastewater data. That’s right, trade in your pencil and clipboard for a tablet or smartphone. Digitizing also allows ongoing, real-time monitoring and analysis of data including chlorine, phosphate, fluoride, BOD/TSS/Ammonia loading, and other chemical dosages. Waterly can also read and incorporate data from PLCs, smart instruments, and power meters.
11. Speak Easy Communication Solutions are specifically designed to allow clear, noise-canceling communication on jobsites. The secret is the fancy algorithm that isolates and silences distracting background noise like rumbling and engines. Numerous versions are available. The Actio PRO-C can connect up to six people with an individual range of up to 550 yards. This model also features cell phone connectivity.
12. IC Rehydrating Hand Cream from R&R Lotion has a unique hypoallergenic formation that helps add a protective layer to the skin. It also relieves chapping caused by working in gloves. It’s fragrance-free so you won’t even realize it’s on — except for the fact that your hands will feel less itchy, inflamed, and uncomfortable while you’re trying to work in cold, challenging weather.
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