Although mobile elevating work platforms (such as cherry pickers, scissor lifts, boom lifts and telescopic booms) are incredibly useful when working at heights, they can be dangerous if not used correctly. To ensure the safety of your workers, both those using the platforms and those working around them, there are a number of basic must do’s to keep in mind.
1. Choosing Appropriate Equipment
It is essential that you have chosen the right sort of machine for the task at hand. This includes, for example, whether the work is indoors or outdoors, weight, capacity and capabilities of machine and will it perform the task in the safest method.
2. Secondary Guarding Devices
There are various secondary guarding devices available that can help in the prevention of crushing or trapping injuries. These include: protective structures, presence sensing devices, and proximity systems.
3. Operator Training
All workers required to use these platforms in the course of their work must have been properly trained in their use and functions, including safe work methods, emergency procedures and hold the appropriate license.
4. Pre-Operational Checks
Before use, workers should properly check and test the machine in accordance with the manufacturer’s pre-operational checklist. If any faults are noticed, they must be reported and rectified immediately.
The stability of the platform in each specific location must be carefully assessed. This is especially true when soft ground, sloping surfaces, overhead power lines, ground cavities, pedestrians and so on are present.
6. Base Controls
The base controls should not be used when workers are on the platform, except in the case of an emergency or for maintenance purposes. All machines should be fitted with an emergency retrieval system.
7. Safety Harnesses
A full safety harness should be worn by every worker on the platform and be secured to the appropriate anchor point. Where there is risk of a free fall, a fall-arrest harness must be worn.
8. Maintenance Requirements
Maintenance, inspections and repairs should be completed at regular intervals and in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. It is recommended that you employ a competent person to do this.
We hope that the information provided above has shown you that, whilst mobile elevating work platforms can be dangerous, they can be incredibly safe providing that they are used correctly, with safety as a high priority and with a little common sense. If you only take one thing away from this list, we hope that it’s important to ensure that all workers have been properly trained in the use of these machines and remember Safety First.