Access Platform News

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:

Training
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.

Maintenance
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.

Stability
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.

We are attending the APF 2016 Forestry exhibition at the Ragley Estate in Alcester, Warwickshire on the 15th, 16th & 17th September –  APF 2016, the UK’s largest and most exciting forestry, woodland, arboricultural, trees and timber event will be the biggest and best event ever staged in its 42 year history.

A stable ground surface is essential for safely working at height and tracked access platforms offer a solution for these unique, but not uncommon, working environments.

Tracked access platforms reduce the risk of working on fragile or delicate surfaces such as interior floors, pathways, and pavements, ice and snow, or sand. The most common types of tracked access platforms are spider lifts which are versatile for use on interior and fragile floor surfaces. Spider lifts can operate in small or confined spaces and can even fit through a standard-sized door or gateway.

Many all-terrain access platforms are tracked as they have to function on delicate and dangerous surfaces such as slippery mud, wet sand, or ice. They are used for jobs at height in more extreme off-road locations and weather conditions.

Tracked Access Platforms Main Features

The main features of tracked access platforms are:
Variable fuel options – Petrol or diesel engine, AC mains electric for indoor or silent works or Lithium battery option
Portable – Road towable by trailer behind a 4×4 or van
Ground clearance – Cranked outrigger design for increased ground clearance
Adaptable tracks – Track widening system options and non-marking rubber tracks for indoor working
Cage options – Quick and easily detachable cage and air, water and power lines to cage
Smart controls –  Remote control and simple intuitive operating system

For 16 years, Promax Access Ltd has been the UK’s premier supplier of compact tracked access platforms. Our innovative range of narrow and low ground pressure spider lift access platforms are lightweight. They not only operate indoors on fragile floors but also outdoors on gardens and driveways, without damaging fragile surfaces. The design will pass through a standard doorway or gateway, and travel along a narrow path or corridor.

In extreme or unusual environments, tracked spiderlift access platforms offer significant benefits over wheeled platforms. They improve safety, stability and functionality. Our machines will access and operate safely in challenging locations and unique conditions. Also offering an extra level of flexibility that will get the job done.

Buying an access platform can be a massive boost to businesses that work at height – both in terms of efficiency and safety – but it is a big investment so it is important to make the right choices before you buy.

Buying an access platform is the safest and quickest way to lift people and equipment to significant heights and hard to reach places. The ability to operate safely in different spaces and environments means they are suitable for a wide range of industries that work at height including construction, utilities, landscaping and maintenance firms.

Buying An Access Platform – The Benefits

There are a number of benefits to buying an access platform:
– They are the fastest and safest solution to lift people and equipment up to hard to reach places
– The investment will pay for itself over time by saving on rental costs
– They are faster than traditional climbing methods such as ladders or scaffolding
– There is a strong market for pre-owned access equipment

Whether you are buying new or used powered access platforms, here are some important things to consider before you buy:

Decide on a budget

Buying an access platform is not cheap to buy so you want a strong return on your investment. Set a budget and consider how it could save money such as increasing your business capacity. However, there are additional costs to ownership including insurance, storage and maintenance.
Some suppliers can offer finance plans for customers to spread the cost of the access equipment over an agreed time period. There are accredited lending schemes with payment options including hire purchase, leases and contact hire.

Select the right machine

Spend time researching the right platform for your business need to ensure your investment is worthwhile. 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.

Buying a safe access platform

Servicing and maintenance at regular intervals – every six months for most powered access platforms – is a legal requirement to comply with health and safety regulations. Always buy powered access platforms from a reputable supplier. Access equipment should have a full service history record. Make sure the work is done by a qualified inspector or alternatively an engineer.

Know the Law

The operation of powered access platforms is governed by UK legislation to minimise the risk of serious or fatal falls from height. Every operator must receive full training in inspecting as well as using the equipment. Operators will also train to spot hazards and coping with a rescue situation must also be covered in training. Regular servicing and maintenance are also legal requirements.

Whether you are buying a new or used powered access platform, take time to research reputable suppliers. It is the supplier who will advise you on the best make and model to suit your needs. In the long term it will not only save money but also improve training and health and safety standards. This could even lead to new and repeat business.

The safe operation and management of powered access platforms is regulated by a number of important pieces of UK legislation which are currently being reviewed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Powered access platform inspections are a legal requirement.

Powered access platforms are used by a diverse range of industries that work at height, from construction to tree surgery and utilities and all of these have different needs and requirements for how they use the machines. However, regardless of the business sector, all access platform operatives are bound by the legislation which is in place to ensure that jobs are completed safely and equipment is kept in prime working order throughout its lifetime.

Changes To Requirements For Access Platform Inspections

The HSE review covers the requirements set out within health and safety legislation for the access platform inspections. The key pieces of legislation are:

  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
  • Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR)
  • Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAH)

All types of businesses that work with powered access platforms and lifting equipment are invited to share their views with the HSE on how the legislation supports or impacts on their business and if any improvements could be made to make access platform inspections even safer and more effective.

The survey will include all aspects of safety inspection including pre start checks and familiarisation and also the requirement to ensure that access equipment is serviced every six months by a fully competent person.

If you have experiences, views or suggestions related to complying with these requirements, HSE would like you to share them by completing the surgery which can be found at www.hse.gov.uk or by emailing examinationreview@hse.gov.uk

The survey will be open until at least the end of September. Responses received will be reviewed and a final closing date confirmed.

 

 

Powered access platforms have already improved safe working at height but sometimes additional measures are needed to protect the workforce.

Safety is is a major concern at height and at ground level and any major issues will be highlighted by the pre job risk assessment. Accidents such as falls from height or entrapment can result in serious or even fatal injuries and lead to penalty fines and long delays which are both bad for business.

In most cases, powered access platforms are the safest way to work at height for lower level and multi-site jobs but here are some useful safety extras which could save times and save lives:

Harnesses
There are two main uses for a body harness with access equipment:
– As an additional fall protection for a specific job at height – the harness is anchored to prevent falling from the cage or work site.
– To restrict movement into an area of danger – the harness is adjusted to keep the person within a restricted, safe work space.

While they can be used with all types of access equipment they are most commonly used with Static and Mobile Boom access platforms.

Anti-entrapment controls
Entrapment is a risk when working at height near overhead obstructions such as buildings, power lines and masonry or on soft or unstable ground conditions. The following safety equipment can be added to most existing models of boom type access equipment or scissor lifts as an additional protection measure:
– Bars or panels to shield the controls from being accidentally triggered by the operative
– A platform cage or side protection bars to prevent falls from the platform which could lead to serious injury or even death
– A pressure sensing bar with an audible and visible alarm in front of the control panel

Spreader plates
Spreader plates reduce the load bearing pressure at the point of contact between a outrigger or stabiliser leg and the ground, by spreading the load through a wider area.  Pressure can cause problems, even on firm and stable ground surfaces, including instability, sinking or tipping over all of which can lead to serious injury and even death.

Selecting the right size and type of spreader plate for specific locations and access equipment is important. Spreader plates should be big enough, stiff enough and strong enough  to cope with the pressure and weight demands.

Wind gauge
Strong winds can lift or tilt platforms and make them unstable and prone to over-tipping and increasing the risk of falls from the platform.  An anemometer will measure wind speed and new models have been designed specifically for use with powered access platforms. They are powered by an internal generator, attach to the work platform and sound an alarm when the wind speed reaches and unacceptable level for safe working.

All safety devices should be regularly checked to make sure they are in premium working condition used in conjunction with appropriate operator training, good site management and careful selection of the right type of powered access platform to perform a particular job.

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.

Every job at height using access equipment relies on careful planning and attention to detail to make sure that the job is completed on time, within budget and without incident which is why access platform risk assessments are required by law.

Whether you are onsite or offsite, working at height requires a suitable risk assessment to avoid potential dangers. Using powered access platforms does make carrying out jobs at height safer and faster but there are still potential risks and it is important to make sure all staff are aware of any precautions to take.

The law requires employers and self-employed contractors to carry out an adequate assessment of the potential risks on each job so they can do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect people from harm. Carrying out a risk assessment does not need to be overly complicated but it does need to be an important part of planning and completing a job.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website has detailed advice  for all businesses that work at height to help them plan and complete a risk assessment for a wide range of jobs. Here are the five main points to consider:

Identify the Hazards – Walk round the site and make observations. Working at height means many hazards are on the ground and at elevated level such as overhead power lines, buildings and trees. Make sure the access equipment has sufficient room to maneuver and the height and outreach to operate effectively and avoid them.
Decide who might be harmed and how – It may be a job onsite or there may be safety concerns for the general public. All access platform operatives must be aware of the potential hazards identified in the assessment so they can avoid them and, by law, must be fully trained to use access equipment and familiarised with the specific model they are using.
Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions – Avoid working at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so, for example if equipment or materials can be prepped at ground level. Whether it is a new or used access platform, all equipment should be serviced every six months by law and checked for performance and safety before each job.
Record your findings and implement them – Check the maintenance of the powered access platform and other equipment and make sure that workers know how to operate it safely and effectively. Take extra steps to prevent any person falling a distance that could cause personal injury and use equipment to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall if necessary, such as body harnesses.
Review your assessment and update if necessary – Circumstances change all the time so your assessment of the risks will too. In case something does go wrong, it is important to have a plan in place to rescue people from danger. Emergency descent controls feature on most powered access platforms to enable them to be safely lowered to ground level but, occasionally, a rescue must be carried out at height and should be planned in detail.

A thorough risk assessment is not a one-off task in the early planning stages but should be reviewed throughout the course of the job to account for changing circumstances. It should be carried out by someone with experience and responsibility and fully documented to ensure that, should issues arise, everything possible has been done to maintain the highest standards of health and safety.

Powered access platforms make working at height safer, quicker and more efficient and under UK law people working with or operating them must pass an accredited training course.

Anyone working with access equipment needs to know how to inspect it, to operate it safely, and recognise and avoid any potential hazards. As well as this general training, they should also be given familiarisation training on the specific model that they will be working with.

Whether you are operating a powered access platform for private or commercial use the same rules apply to stay safe and within the law. Employers and individual users must make sure operators are properly trained and are liable if the rules are broken.

The Law
UK Law states that all operatives must have training to use access platforms before attempting to operate any machine. Courses combine practical and classroom based sessions that include the following information:
– Operating equipment safely
Inspecting access platforms for defects and wear and tear
– Recognising and avoiding potential hazards in the workspace
– The importance of familiarisation with the specific make and model to be used
Failure to comply with the law can put the lives of workers and anyone else in the work location at risk and is punished with large fines and penalties which could result in a business being shut down.

About The Powered Access Platform Training

Training is a combination of classroom based study and hands-on experience with the equipment and courses are available for operators
, demonstrators
, instructors, managers and people working with specialist mast climbing access equipment

Accredited training centres are located across the country and courses can be held at their premises, or on a convenient site with suitable facilities. Anyone who passes a course will be given an accreditation or licence which they can use to evidence their skills and legal ability with prospective or current employers.

The most obvious benefit of powered access platform training is a large boost to individual skills and experience. A trained operative will be able to work more safely and efficiently and is an asset to businesses both in specialised fields of work and industries that deliver a broad range of services at height.

 

Powered Access Platform Training for Managers
A manager includes anyone in charge of a job at height as they have the final responsibility for health and safety. There are serious penalties if the responsible person has not followed the law. Specialist training prepares managers for planning and supervising jobs involving access platforms and is suitable for all of the diverse industries that work at height.

Powered access platform training is the key to a successful and efficient business. The benefits not only apply to the individuals but keep clients, co-workers and collaborative partners happy and ensure that every job is completed safely, on time and within budget.