Selecting equipment for work at height
Powered access platforms offer a safe and speedy solution to reach most jobs at height but with a wide variety of machinery specifications, it is important to be mindful of a few things whilst finding a MEWP for the job.
Different types of access equipment have been specially designed for jobs in certain environments, for example, spider lifts can be used on fragile floors and in confined spaces whilst road/rail access platforms have a dual functionality to run on the road and train tracks. Getting it wrong can not only slow a job down, costing time and money, but could increase the health and safety risks to the workforce and public as well.
What to consider at the MEWP site
A site visit to the job location is essential to determine which high access equipment to use.
Consider the following things:
• Are there any steep slopes?
• What are the ground conditions like?
• Are there obstructions such as steelwork, overhangs or power lines?
• Look for fragile surfaces such as tiled floors or pathways
• What space is there to load at floor level?
• How high up is the job?
• Are there height and width restrictions?
Other considerations whilst finding a MEWP:
Access platforms are flexible and can lift people and equipment to the necessary height in less time that it takes to climb a ladder or scaffold and winch up the necessary tools. Mobile access equipment which is mounted on a vehicle or truck is ideal for multiple jobs in one location.
Often powered access platforms can access jobs which are hard to reach or dangerous with traditional scaffolding or ladders. Boom lifts have a telescopic reach which can avoid obstacles such as architecture or overhanging branches. Spider lifts are designed for use in confined spaces, including jobs indoors, and can pass through a standard sized doorway.
Consider the potential for falls and whether you need any additional safety equipment such as guardrails, nets or safety harnesses. Make sure the people operating the access equipment are fully trained to do so.
If you are still unsure about the best powered access platform to use for your job then ask for advice at the place where you plan to rent or buy from.
Whatever machine you select, it is important to familiarise yourself with the specific make and model. Choosing the right access equipment will make a big difference to the speed and safety of your job.