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Month: June 2016

Festivals and powered access platforms

Last weekend almost 200,000 music lovers travelled to the Glastonbury festival and powered access platforms are playing an increasing role in the success of the summer live music season.

Festivals involve multiple stages set out over a large site area, in a variety of locations from public parks and gardens to rural farmland. Access platforms have a number of advantages for working at height at live music events because they are flexible, mobile and able to operate safely on a wide range of surfaces and ground conditions.

Some of the main jobs they are used for are:
– Stage construction including roofing, lifting steelwork and maintenance
– Setting up and taking down lighting rigs, lasers and pyrotechnics
– Working on sound equipment
– Fixing and operating film and television cameras for broadcast
– Maintenance during the event and site clearance afterwards

With such a vast number of acts on at a festival, some of the work needs to be carried out while the event is going on and there are thousands of people around. When used properly, access equipment is one of the safest ways to work up in the air, at speed.

What to look out for

People – There are lots of them around at festivals and many will be in an excitable state or even inebriated. Make sure you carry out a full risk assessment to account for this and create a safe working area so neither operatives or members of the public are at risk.
Weather – Outdoors in the British summer is unpredictable at the best of times. Wind, rain and mud are all potential problems. Conditions can change quickly so check the forecast at regular intervals so you can select the correct equipment for the job and avoid accidents. Personal fall protection is also highly recommended.
Ground conditions – These are affected by both the weather and the location. Muddy farm land and pathways in a historic garden are very different surfaces but both pose risks for instability. Choose your access equipment to meet your requirements. For example:

– All-terrain access platforms have four wheel drive and are designed to stabilise on varied surfaces and gradients so are ideal for more remote areas with poor infrastructure
– Tracked access platforms spread the weight of the machine and reduce the pressure at ground level which could make them too heavy for fragile or soft surfaces

Festivals are a unique working environment and the combination of large crowds, unpredictable weather and unusual locations means work needs to be completed quickly and safely with minimal impact on everything going on around the site. Powered access platforms can work safely on most ground surfaces and are mobile so they can easily move around the site. Whether you are going to a festival or enjoying the music at home, access platforms have become as essential to event organisers as wellies are to the crowds.

Know the law for access platform users

UK legislation ensures that all powered access platform use is safe and efficient and it is essential for businesses that work at height to be up to date on the regulations that govern use and protect workers.

The legal know how for access platform use is part of the mandatory training for both operatives, managers and supervisors and was introduced to avoid accidents and make sure that the machines are in top working order.

The law applies to both new and used access platforms and keeping the access equipment in prime working condition extends its performance and lifespan and increases value for money.

The legal essentials

There are two pieces of current legislation that govern the maintenance of powered access platforms:
Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

The regulations state that access platforms must be tested and thoroughly examined at regular intervals by a qualified person. This means every six months for any machine that lifts people and 12 months for machines lifting just equipment.

Here is a brief outline of the key pieces of legislation:

Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
LOLER has the following requirements for servicing access equipment:
– Equipment used for lifting people should be safe to use and all necessary precautions must be taken to eliminate or reduce any risk
– Access equipment should be thoroughly examined before it is used for the first time
– Examinations should be carried out  in use every six months for access platforms lifting people and 12 months for all other equipment
– Inspections and servicing should be carried out by a qualified person who submits a full report to the owner/employer

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
The servicing requirements of PUWER for work equipment are:
– It should be suitable for use
– It is used and maintained in a safe condition for use so that people’s health and safety is not at risk
– Inspected regularly to ensure that it is safe for use
– A competent person should carry our inspections and a record kept until the next inspection
Mobile access platforms used for carrying people should be fit for purpose with measures taken to reduce the risks to anyone using it or in the vicinity

Accredited training is also required for anyone using powered access platforms both for commercial and private use and will give a more detailed outline of LOLER and PUWER. The key to machine safety is a regular schedule of maintenance  which is fully documented and maximises the functionality and safety of the equipment. This will also ensure a high resale value of the machine.

It makes sense that any machine used to work at height is in prime working condition and the people using it are not put at risk. There are large penalties for not complying with these laws, not least if anyone gets seriously hurt or injured as a result of mechanical failure. Getting your powered access platforms inspected and serviced regularly is not only a legal requirement but a way to guarantee it is operating at peak performance, getting jobs at height completed faster and more safely and to avoid any unnecessary accidents.

Visit Promax Access at leading industry event

Meet the Promax Access team and find out about how our powered access platforms can improve your business at Vertikal Days 2016.

Now in its tenth year, Vertikal days is a leading event in the European calendar,  featuring cranes, access platforms and telehandlers. It is aimed at fleet owners, rental companies, lifting equipment users and lifting professionals and offers a full view of the industry’s latest products and innovations.

The event will be held at Haydock Park, Newton-Le-Willows,  Merseyside on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th June and Promax Access will be in attendance on stand 209.

As well as offering expert advice and meeting with new and existing customers, Promax Access will be exhibiting some exciting NEW products at the show from the range of unique compact tracked access platforms. These include:

The Spider 13.80 – This is a super compact lithium-hybrid machine providing a 13.4 metre working height, a maximum outreach of 8 metres, and a set up width of only 2.9 metres. Features include user friendly remote tracking and an extending chassis for additional safety.

The Spider 27.14 Hybrid – Launching for the first time in the UK, this access platform has great user-friendly features including a 27 metre working height, a 14 metre maximum outreach and a 230kg maximum cage capacity.

The dual-power Spider 18.90 PRO – This machine has radio control, two-speed tracking, auto set up, Kubota engine, cage rotation and the unique track widening system which provides greater ground clearance. A lithium battery version of the Spider 18.90 PRO-E will also be on display.

Anyone wanting to find out more about these new products and the full range of access equipment at Promax Access can come and talk to a member of the team on either of the event days.

Over the two days of the event, Vertikal Days visitors can also browse the exhibits and attend a wide range of  free meetings, seminars & workshops to gain knowledge about all aspects of elevated working.

Vertikal days 2016 takes place on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th June 2016 at Haydock Park, Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside. To find out how to register go to www.vertikaldays.net

Powered access platforms for private use

Powered access platforms are widely used for commercial and business purposes but they are also suitable for jobs on private property and land.

Buying a powered access platform is a big financial commitment so most private users are people who have a regular need for working at height and suitable capacity to store a large machine such as landowners and farmers.

Even if access equipment is being used privately, anyone operating the machine must comply with UK law which includes being adequately trained and carrying out a full and detailed risk assessment. Falls from height can be fatal so operatives must be confident in safe operation and know what to do in case of an emergency.

Risk Assessment tips
Identifying hazards and potential risks in the workspace and taking steps to avoid them are are essential. The risk assessment should include:
– Narrow or limited access
– Obstructions and obstacles at height and ground level
– Unstable or fragile ground
– Varied ground conditions such as paths, lawns or driveways
– Hard to reach or confined spaces

Never work alone on private land; always make sure there is someone who can respond if things go wrong.Choose the right machine to perform the necessary task safely and effectively.  Access equipment must be serviced every six months and checked before starting any job to ensure all functions are safe and operational.

Because powered access platforms are mobile and flexible they are suitable for a range of jobs on private property:

Building Maintenance – Guttering, painting , pointing and brickwork are all jobs which require a stable working platform for elevated safety.
Window cleaning  – Windows on buildings and constructions that can’t be reached by conventional climbing equipment such as ladders can be accessed quickly and safely by powered access platforms.
Roofing – Working on roofs can often be dangerous as they are often fragile and hard to reach when replacing panels and tiles. Powered access platforms can lift people, tools and equipment safely and speedily and are ideal for short duration roof work including inspections, maintenance and repairs.
Tree surgery and landscaping – Powered access platforms save time and energy wasted on climbing and hoisting up tools. They are used for clearing falling branches, trimming and maintaining trees in walking areas, planting new trees, and removing dead ones.

Powered access platforms can work flexibly on big or small jobs and are a safer way to complete short duration work at height. Regardless of whether the job is commercial or private the same attention to detail, planning and focus on safety will ensure it is completed with optimum results.

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Barnsley,
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Email: sales@promaxaccess.com