Powered access platforms have already improved safe working at height but sometimes additional measures are needed to protect the workforce.
Safety is is a major concern at height and at ground level and any major issues will be highlighted by the pre job risk assessment. Accidents such as falls from height or entrapment can result in serious or even fatal injuries and lead to penalty fines and long delays which are both bad for business.
In most cases, powered access platforms are the safest way to work at height for lower level and multi-site jobs but here are some useful safety extras which could save times and save lives:
There are two main uses for a body harness with access equipment:
– As an additional fall protection for a specific job at height – the harness is anchored to prevent falling from the cage or work site.
– To restrict movement into an area of danger – the harness is adjusted to keep the person within a restricted, safe work space.
While they can be used with all types of access equipment they are most commonly used with Static and Mobile Boom access platforms.
Entrapment is a risk when working at height near overhead obstructions such as buildings, power lines and masonry or on soft or unstable ground conditions. The following safety equipment can be added to most existing models of boom type access equipment or scissor lifts as an additional protection measure:
– Bars or panels to shield the controls from being accidentally triggered by the operative
– A platform cage or side protection bars to prevent falls from the platform which could lead to serious injury or even death
– A pressure sensing bar with an audible and visible alarm in front of the control panel
Spreader plates reduce the load bearing pressure at the point of contact between a outrigger or stabiliser leg and the ground, by spreading the load through a wider area. Pressure can cause problems, even on firm and stable ground surfaces, including instability, sinking or tipping over all of which can lead to serious injury and even death.
Selecting the right size and type of spreader plate for specific locations and access equipment is important. Spreader plates should be big enough, stiff enough and strong enough to cope with the pressure and weight demands.
Strong winds can lift or tilt platforms and make them unstable and prone to over-tipping and increasing the risk of falls from the platform. An anemometer will measure wind speed and new models have been designed specifically for use with powered access platforms. They are powered by an internal generator, attach to the work platform and sound an alarm when the wind speed reaches and unacceptable level for safe working.
All safety devices should be regularly checked to make sure they are in premium working condition used in conjunction with appropriate operator training, good site management and careful selection of the right type of powered access platform to perform a particular job.