29 January 2017
Planning site access for elevated working. 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.
Planning site 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.
When planning site access for elevated working, factor in separate or designated areas of movement. This will help workers on the ground and the access equipment and 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.
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.
22 January 2017
Just like driving a car safely where you must have training and instruction, so it is with powered access platforms. More hazards occur due to the operation of the machines rather than their movement on site. Legislation was introduced in 2007 (The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007) to ensure all hazards are properly controlled. Operator instruction and training is a key component of the legislation to ensure safe working at height.
It requires that operators of powered access platforms should attend a recognised training course and successfully attain a Certificate (card or ‘licence’) listing the categories of MEWP (Mobile Elevating Work Platform) they are trained to operate. An expiry date is also on the Certificate to allow checking that it is valid and current. Employers are required to provide access platform training for employees.
Promax Access is committed to providing high quality training to meet Health and Safety Executive requirements for safe work at height. Training can be held at the employer’s premises, or if suitable facilities are available, at a preferred site or at one of our training centres. We aim to provide your training needs with the minimum of disruption to your business.
There is a wide range of courses available to suit employer’s requirements including specific training for operators, demonstrators and instructors.
Categories of MEWP equipment covered include:
16 January 2017
So you are ready to start buying a powered access platform but, before you make the investments, here are a few things to consider to ensure you make the right purchase.
Access equipment can be expensive so make sure you have a fixed budget before you buy. Investing in your own machine could increase your business capacity and be better value for money than renting. However, there are additional costs to ownership including insurance, storage and maintenance.
If you have a limited amount of money to spend, or run a small or medium-sized business, investing in pre-owned access equipment could be more cost effective.
Different types of access platforms suit jobs in specific environments, though some are more flexible. For example a mobile access platform is best for multiple small jobs such as street lighting, or a tracked spider lift is used on fragile floors and in confined spaces. Consider the necessary height reach, how much weight the access equipment will lift, and transporting the machine to each job. Choosing the right type of powered access platform is essential for safety on the job and can save time and money as well.
Job location will impact on buying a powered access platform as some access equipment is more flexible for use on multiple surfaces. Tracked access platforms, for example, spread the weight of the machine and can be used on delicate surfaces and on unusual ground conditions such as sand or snow. Access to the job site, working space, and ground conditions should all be considered. Some models can access hard to reach jobs and overcome obstacles, such as boom lifts that have a telescopic reach.
The use of powered access platforms is governed by several pieces of mandatory legislation under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act, to minimise the risk of serious or fatal falls from height. Every operator must be fully trained in inspecting and using the equipment, spotting potential hazards and coping with a rescue situation and serious penalties can be incurred if they are not. Regular servicing and maintenance are also legal requirements.
Always ensure you are buying powered access platforms from a reputable supplier. Used access equipment should have a full service history record as inspection and servicing is legally required every six months. Make sure the work has been carried out by a qualified inspector or engineer. Access platforms should also be inspected and checked before every use to ensure they are fit for purpose. This will guarantee optimum performance and avoid accidents.
Hopefully buying a powered access platform will be a major boost to your business but it is worth doing some research into what your business needs before you buy. If budget is an issue, ask the vendor about payment plans as many of them offer finance options which can spread the cost while you work with the machine to earn it back. For businesses that have regular and multiple jobs at height the investment can quickly be recouped by saving on rental costs and cutting the time taken to complete a wide range of jobs.
9 January 2017
With the onset of winter and the probability of ice and snow, adverse weather conditions make it essential to have the correct heavy bad weather access platforms to reach those heights safely.
In almost all instances, appropriate access platform selection is key to the safe operation and efficiency of any job at height and the make and model of machine being used will depend on the specific needs of that job. Heavy duty access platforms are needed where the job has an added element of risk, for example:
– Unusual ground surfaces such as ice, sand, mud or railways
– Adverse weather such as strong winds or heavy rain
– Lifting heavy weights and equipment
– Overcoming obstacles at ground level and at height
In these, and other risky scenarios, a strong foundation and robust lifting mechanisms are essential. Fortunately, as powered access platforms are flexible and mobile, several types of machine are able to rise to the challenge.
Spiderlifts have great flexibility and include articulated or hydraulic mechanisms that both lift and reach out. This makes it easier to position the work platform in hard to reach spaces. This flexible lift and outreach also means they can avoid potentially dangerous obstacles such as branches, buildings or overhead power lines. With their stabilizing outrigger legs they can safely anchor the machine for use on uneven or sloping ground. The Promax Spider 33.15 is perfect for poor terrain and adverse weather.
Road Rail access platforms have the duel ability to operate on road and rail tracks without affecting the speed or functionality of the equipment. It is easy to switch from one operation mode to the other and it saves money as well as time by reducing the need to hire locomotive plant or attempt access through protected or remote areas of countryside. They are robust and efficient and used for a wide range of essential jobs at height on the national railways including repairing and installing signals and posts and structural inspections of bridges, stations and embankments. The Promax RR14 EVO-2/400 meets all these requirements and is RIS 1530 issue 5 compliant.
Bad weather access platforms are able to reach remote locations, operate on unusual ground surfaces and provide a strong and stable base in extreme conditions. Safe working saves lives and boosts the productivity, even in unique working environments.