Powered access platforms have the flexibility and versatility to work in a variety of spaces on and offsite but getting to and from the workspace could influence the choice of machine that is right for the job.
It is important to have sufficient space to reach the work area safely and, if necessary, to move and operate the access equipment without putting operator safety at risk or damaging the surrounding space.
Access is an important consideration for the pre-job risk assessment and should take into account whether the job is indoors or outdoors, any obstacles in the work area and the ground conditions in the workspace.
Access on site
When planning the job, factor in separate or designated areas of movement for workers on the ground and the access equipment. This should include:
– Separate entrances and exits
– Pedestrian walkways through the work area.
– Crossing points which are clearly signed and lit where there is a cross over between access equipment and pedestrians
– Room to reverse or make a three point turn
Visibility is paramount when moving machines around and vehicles should have large, clean windscreens and external mirrors to provide an all-round field of vision.
Weight and dimensions
Powered access platforms vary in size it is important to know how they will move to and from the work area. There should be room to drive or reverse onto the site, to move or turn around on it, and suitable space for unloading on the road.
Some access platforms, such as scissor lifts, can operate indoors and in restricted spaces. They are compact enough fit through a standard sized door or gateway and light enough to operate on fragile interior floors.
Ground conditions should be checked a regular intervals during the course of every. They can vary even in different areas of the same site and are affected by the weather, traffic and the maximum weight load of the machine.
Assessments should include each area where the access equipment will be used and any space it will have to travel across. There should be enough space for the proper set up of outriggers and spreader plates if required.
The risk assessment should identify potential hazards both above and below ground level in detail, especially if you are using mobile access platforms and moving around a work area. Buildings, trees and overhead power lines are just some of the obstacles that can affect site access for powered access platforms and pose an entrapment risk to the workforce.
Powered access platforms make working at height safer and access to the work space requires careful planning. Access hazards can lead to overtipping, entrapment and falls and are an essential safety consideration. Assess the ground conditions carefully and work out how to move safely around the work area to avoid any potential hazards which could injure the workforce or cause expensive delays.