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Month: October 2016

Are you ready for LOLER?

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) is the main piece of legislation covering all types of workplace lifting equipment and inspections of access platforms need to be carried out every six months.

Falls from height are still the most common cause of workplace accidents and injuries so the law is clear about the safe use of lifting equipment, including powered access platforms. LOLER sets out the legal requirements of employers and self –employed people who are responsible for providing lifting equipment at work.

Without a valid LOLER certificate, it is not safe to use your machine which is why Promax Access Ltd offers free service to their customers to remind them when their next inspection is due. Simply input the date of your next inspection on the form on our website and we will get in touch in plenty of time to remind you when it is due.

All makes and models of access equipment are covered by LOLER, including the platform itself and the mechanisms used to stabilize and support it.

The aims of LOLER

Inspect the equipment. All machines should be serviced and maintained at regular intervals and properly inspected before every job.  A thorough inspection of the powered access platform and any accessories such as personal safety equipment should be carried out before it is used for the first time on any job and it should have a thorough examination carried out by a competent person every six months, if it is used to lift people.

Make sure the access equipment is strong and stable enough. Choosing the right type of access equipment for a specific job should always be a primary decisions. It should be positioned to ensure the maximum safety of people working both at height and at ground level.

Never overload access platforms. Every machine has a safe working load that it can lift without causing instability or increasing the risk of falls. This should be marked on the machine and should include the maximum weight of people and equipment and the number of people the access platform can safely lift.

Plan every job carefully. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) all jobs involving lifting equipment should be:

– properly planned by a competent person
– appropriately supervised
– carried out in a safe manner

All jobs at height need a risk assessment which continue throughout the course of the job to identify hazards and enable you to plan an prevent them. It should be supervised by someone experienced and competent.

Complying with LOLER means businesses are meeting their legal requirements and getting the full benefits of professional lifting equipment. Go to www.promaxaccess.com and let us help you to comply with the law for safe and effective elevated working.

Access platforms for winter working

For most industries that work at height, winter is the season when the schedule becomes less hectic due to shorter working days and unpredictable weather conditions.

However, powered access platforms are designed to cope with extreme work environments, indoors and outdoors and are the safest way to keep working and making money during winter months, provided your machine is kept in prime working order.

Choosing the right access equipment for a specific job can overcome most issues when supported with a detailed and ongoing risk assessment of existing and potential hazards. Here are a few other things to consider to be winter ready:

Stability

A strong foundation is essential on slippery or sloping ground and outriggers or stabilizer legs on powered access platforms can provide this even on steep gradients. Warning lights on the machine controls indicate when the access equipment is in a stable position and some lifts may require spreader plates under the legs to prevent subsidence.

Daily checks

Supervisors and operatives should carry out a thorough check of the powered access platform before the start of any job. These checks look for visible signs of wear and tear and flag up and immediate problems with the mechanical parts or safety controls. All operatives should be trained to spot potential dangers and know where to report them if necessary.

Before the start of every job the following checks should be made:

  • Inspect component parts of the work platform, extending structures and stabilizing equipment
  • Look for signs of dirt or damage on the machine
  • Ensure controls are operational at ground level and on platform workstations
  • Check all emergency systems and safety devices
  • Check brake functions, tyre pressures, hydraulic systems and lights
  • Examine fluid levels including engine oil, water and lubricant
  • Long term care

Maintenance

Under UK, law powered access platforms must be fully serviced and inspected by a qualified mechanic, every six months if they are lifting people and equipment. This is a full and thorough inspection of all machine parts and working apparatus and is recorded for both legal compliance and as a record for resale.

A full service will encompass all the daily checks plus a more detailed analysis of components and performance including:

  • Lifting, lowering, rotating and extending equipment
  • Safety systems and controls
  • All parts of the work platform/basket
  • Screws, nuts and bolts, bearings, hydraulics, electrics, ropes and chains
  • Power supplies
  • Hydraulics and electrics
  • Brakes, steering and stablisers

Storage

Whether you are leaving access equipment over night on site or taking it to a secure compound make sure it is properly covered where necessary and locked when not in use. This will not only prevent theft or misuse but it will protect the machine against damage caused by rust or exposure.

Winter working does pose some safety challenges but need not be a barrier to using powered access platforms. Take extra care with the safety routine and ensure the access platform is carefully stored and protected from the elements where necessary and you can continue to work safely all year round.

EU Machinery Directive – Have Your Say

Owners, operatives and manufacturers of powered access platforms are being invited to contribute to a public consultation on one of the European Union’s (EU) key safety laws.

The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC was introduced in 1995 to ensure all new machinery that is manufactured and used in Europe, including powered access platforms,  has been  designed and assembled to meet common minimum European requirements for safety.

The consultation consists of an online questionnaire, available in six official languages of the European Union: German, English, Spanish, French, Italian and Polish.  IPAF members can sign in using the link on the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) website www.ipaf.org and give their views anytime during the 12 week consultation period which runs from 22 September until 16 December 2016.

About the Machinery Directive
The Machinery Directive supports free trade between EU member states, which still includes the UK, at least until Article 50 is evoked following the EU Referendum result in June 2016.

Setting common standards around health and safety for new products makes trading powered access platforms between countries easier. The rules also apply to many accessories for working at height including lifting accessories, chains, ropes and webbing, removable transmission devices and partly completed machinery.

In the UK these regulations are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for most industrial and professional products or by local trading standards services for consumer products.
Access equipment which is compliant with the directive will have the relevant paperwork to show it is compliant which means that the manufacturer has undergone an assessment process and met all relevant essential health and safety requirements (EHSRs).

About the Consultation
While the UK is still an EU member, industries that work in European countries are eligible to input on EU laws that affect them.The European Commission has invited citizens, companies, users (workers and consumers), public authorities, notified bodies, standardisation bodies and other interested parties to fill in the questionnaire and comment on the evaluation.

The results will be used to review the terms of the Directive in the future. IPAF members can also contact the federation if they require support or have any questions. To find out more go to www.ipaf.org before 16 December 2016.

Security tips for powered access platforms

Buying a powered access platform is a major investment for most businesses that work at height, however it is important to safeguard against machine theft and incorrect use.

When working on a busy location such as a construction site, it’s not uncommon for larger access equipment to be left there overnight if it is being used over several days. If this is the case, then it is really important to make sure machines are left locked and secure.

Unauthorised use can be extremely dangerous, especially if it is operated by a person who isn’t trained and competent (a requirement of UK law). They could be risking their lives and the lives of anyone in the area and it is the duty of employers to implement security measures when the machine is not in use.

Most powered access platforms are switched on with a key so managing who has the keys and where they are at the end of the day is very important. Keys should only be issued to authorised operators and returned by them at the end of the job.

When access equipment is not in use:
– Whether at break time or overnight take out the keys and make sure they are handed into a manager or in the care of a responsible person.
– It should be left in a designated space, preferably a secure compound or area which cannot be accessed by the general public
– Make sure the machine is parked in the transport position, with the main power switched off and any parking brakes or wheel chocks applied.

There are additional security features measures available on specific makes and models of powered access platform. These include:

Battery isolation switch – These enable the primary battery power supply to be disconnected by a switch that can then be physically locked in the off-position.
Smart cards – Operatives can swipe a pre-authorised card or fob across a reader or sensor in order to authorise use of the access equipment.

A sheltered site, shed or secure compound which cannot be accessed by the general public will prevent any wear and tear which can occur even when the machine is not in use and will, ultimately, extend its lifespan. If the access equipment has to be left outside it is worth investing in a strong and durable cover to protect it from the elements.

The employer or owner of the access equipment is responsible for ensuring workplace safety for the duration of the job. When it is not on site it is important to apply the same duty of care to private storage facilities to prevent theft and unauthorised use.

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Acorn Phase 3,
High Street, Grimethorpe,
Barnsley,
South Yorkshire,
S72 7BD
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Email: sales@promaxaccess.com

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