The UK’s vast rail network must be kept in prime working order and powered access platforms play a vital role in keeping the tracks clear and safe and to minimise delays.

Many miles of railway track run through remote rural areas where, during summer and autumn, trees, leaves and vegetation can pose a risk to safety by causing an obstruction or obscuring vital signals and signs. Accessing some areas and keeping on top of the growth can be a challenge, particularly during summer and autumn.

Road rail access platforms are designed to overcome these access problems  and operate on both road and track in urban and rural environments, saving time and money and making maintenance work significantly safer.

Benefits of road rail platforms
Modern road rail access equipment is safer, stronger, more robust.  The flexibility to operate on roads and on railway line means the machines are able to cope with a variety of tasks in a wide range of different locations and environments.

Speed and performance are not limited by the duel functionality of road rail access platforms as they can switch easily between the two operating modes and they have a minimal impact on the countryside and environment.

Throughout the year, road rail access equipment is used for a variety of essential track clearance and vegetation management jobs including:

– Clearing verges and embankments of vegetation and debris
– Leaf collection from tracks and track sides
– Cutting back overhanging trees and branches
– Improving visibility of signs and signals which may be obscured
– On and off track weed killing
– Hazardous tree removal

Promax Access Ltd stocks the biggest selling road rail access platform – the EVO-2/400 Hydrostatic drive version of the Basket RR14 EVO

Just a few of the features include:

13 km/h rail travel speed
400 cage capacity
4WD to reach areas that are off-road
Automatic turret levelling – 200 cant
Auxiliary diesel engine
Operation on a 1:16 gradient
Intuitive control system

Road rail access platforms offer a fit for purpose and safe solution to clearing and maintaining railway lines to ensure that there are no delays which are expensive and a huge inconvenience to passengers.

On site, the loading and unloading of powered access platforms at a work location can be a dangerous activity for drivers and operatives, even though they are still the safest way of completing temporary work at height.

According to data shared with the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), around 1 million powered access platforms are moved around the UK by road every year, with equipment transported to and from a wide range of locations in urban and rural environments.

An error made while unloading or loading heavy access equipment can have serious consequences and could lead to trapping or crushing incidents that may cause injuries or fatalities. More than a third of all unloading and loading accidents involve delivery drivers though engineers, operatives and individuals purchasing or renting access equipment are also affected.

Since 2012, members of the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) have been volunteering data on these type of accidents which is being used to improve safety and highlight some of the main issues.

The data has shown some interesting trends including the four main causes of accidents:
Foot run over –  Keep a safe distance when driving the access equipment with the upper control box detached and know and watch where the machine is going.
Trapped between machines – Standing between machines could lead to serious injury or even death if the machine is moved the wrong way.
Ramp falls-  Take your time when driving on or off a ramp and never drive on or off a ramp at an angle. Slips and trips can lead to an accident.
Catapulting– Loading and unloading of booms also presents significant risk of ejection so wear a harness with a short lanyard and fasten on at all times.

Accident prevention

Though the data highlights the dangers which can occur when loading and unloading, many of them are avoidable if you follow a few basic safety rules:

– Carry out a full and detailed risk assessment for every job which is fully recorded and reviewed regularly
– Make sure there is sufficient access on site for loading, unloading and moving around the work location
– All staff and operatives should be trained to use access platforms, familiarised with the specific make and model and aware of the safety procedures

The increasing use of access platforms by industries that work at height has had a significant impact in the reduction of workplace accidents and training. Planning and attention to detail are the key to reducing the margin for error and the avoidable risks for drivers and operatives.

Powered access platforms are safer to use than ever for most jobs at height but accidents can still happen and the responsibility for preventing falls rests with employers, supervisors and operatives.
Falls from height are the number one cause of workplace accidents in the UK which result in serious industry or death. Most of the risks are identified at the planning stage through a detailed risk assessment.

However, even with the most careful planning there are some circumstances which cannot be planned for such as changeable weather or operative error.  Falls not only put the lives of operatives and people in the work area at risk, but also the knock on effects can include time delays, penalty charges, higher insurance premiums, legal fees and compensation payments and lasting damage to the corporate reputation.

Fortunately most accidents are preventable so here are five ways to safeguard against falls from access equipment:

All powered access platform operatives must be trained by law in their use and familiarised with the specific make and model being used for a job. Accredited courses combine classroom theory and hands-on training with a written theory and practical test. Courses cover all types of powered access platforms including mobile, static and specialist vehicles.

Equipment selection
Choosing the right type of powered access platform for a specific job will reduce the risk of accidents. Different makes and models have specific features to suit a range of tasks at height in different locations. Things to consider include  the access to the site and whether there is specific space for safe movement. A confined or open workspace may require a  spider lift. Obstructions at height and ground level could use a boom lift access platform with height and outreach

Personal Fall Protection
Personal fall protection provides an extra safety boost for powered access platform operatives.  For most jobs at height, the working platform is a safe and stable base and the guardrail is the primary form of fall protection but additional measures, such as a fall restraint or fall arrest system should be considered.
Fall protection systems are fastened to a solid anchorage point, preventing the worker from hitting the ground or falling further than a few feet, and can be adjusted to meet the demands of a specific job.

Powered access platforms should be kept in premium working condition. Maintenance checks should be carried out before the start of each job and a thorough examination (LOLER) is needed every six months by a qualified engineer.

Powered access platforms are designed to stabilise and establish a strong base on most gradients and ground conditions. Fragile or soft surfaces may require a tracked access platform or spreader plates to reduce pressure. Never exceed the weight of the machine and carry out a full assessment of ground conditions. Take note of the weather as wind speed at ground level can increase as much as 50% at an elevation of 20 metres

Buying a Compact Crane

4 September 2016

Buying a compact crane offers an excellent lifting solution for many jobs at height. Extreme working environments require access equipment that is safe, flexible and powerful.

Cranes in our Reedyk compact crane range are powerful and have precision movement, even in locations with restricted space for operation. Theses factors make them ideal to lift a full range of load types from fragile materials to heavy items.

Promax Access Ltd is the exclusive UK supplier for the Reedyk compact crane range which are suitable for use by industries ranging from glass fitting, to construction. The balanced design means the lifespan of the machine is considerably longer than with traditional compact machines. Our Reedyk compact crane range will deliver big benefits, for example:

  • Up to 42 per cent shorter and 32 per cent narrower than similar lifting capacity compact cranes
  • A rotating counterweight which means that up to 45 per cent less space for levelling
  • Hydraulic telescopic outrigger legs which will position anywhere
  • Machines work seamlessly indoors or outdoors with duel fuel options (diesel/electric) to reduce noise pollution
  • The ability to pick and carry loads of 1,000 kilograms
  • A flexible knuckle boom and hydraulic jib for excellent movement and precision
  • Inbuilt safety mechanisms include Load Torque Safety with stability control and a CAN bus system
  • Radio remote control with a Display
  • Storage compartment for (lifting) accessories

Buying a compact crane
Always buy from a reputable supplier such as Promax Access Ltd. We will talk you through the features of the machine and the benefits to your business and help you make the right choice for your specific needs.

Compact crane operatives must undergo full training in their use by UK law.  The CPCS A66 Compact Crane course is one of the most comprehensive accreditations by employers and contractors in the UK. It combines hands-on practical assessments with and classroom based theory sessions to cover machine use, the law and risk assessment.

A designated crane supervisor should direct and supervise the lifting operation to make sure it is carried out in accordance with the pre-job risk assessment. They should be experienced and competent and have authority to stop the job if necessary.

Reedyk compact cranes offer a unique and specially designed solution to lifting problems in confined spaces. They are compact, lightweight and able to stabilise in a wide range of work locations and environments. If you already work at height they could be a valuable addition to your working fleet, saving time and money and ensuring the safe lifting of important loads.

Please feel free to get in touch if you would like more details. Alternatively, our friendly staff are always on hand to answer any questions that you may have on 01226 716657 or via our handy live chat function.