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.