Festivals and powered access platforms

Last weekend almost 200,000 music lovers travelled to the Glastonbury festival and powered access platforms are playing an increasing role in the success of the summer live music season.

Festivals involve multiple stages set out over a large site area, in a variety of locations from public parks and gardens to rural farmland. Access platforms have a number of advantages for working at height at live music events because they are flexible, mobile and able to operate safely on a wide range of surfaces and ground conditions.

Some of the main jobs they are used for are:
– Stage construction including roofing, lifting steelwork and maintenance
– Setting up and taking down lighting rigs, lasers and pyrotechnics
– Working on sound equipment
– Fixing and operating film and television cameras for broadcast
– Maintenance during the festival and site clearance afterwards

With such a vast number of acts on at festivals, some of the work needs to be carried out while the event is going on and there are thousands of people around. When used properly, access equipment is one of the safest ways to work up in the air, at speed.

What to look out for

People – There are lots of them around at festivals and many will be in an excitable state or even inebriated. Make sure you carry out a full risk assessment to account for this and create a safe working area so neither operatives or members of the public are at risk.
Weather – Outdoors in the British summer is unpredictable at the best of times. Wind, rain and mud are all potential problems at festivals. Conditions can change quickly so check the forecast at regular intervals so you can select the correct equipment for the job and avoid accidents. Personal fall protection is also highly recommended.
Ground conditions – These are affected by both the weather and the location. Muddy farm land and pathways in a historic garden are very different surfaces but both pose risks for instability. Choose your access equipment to meet your requirements. For example:

– All-terrain access platforms have four wheel drive and are designed to stabilise on varied surfaces and gradients so are ideal for more remote areas of festivals with poor infrastructure
– Tracked access platforms spread the weight of the machine and reduce the pressure at ground level which could make them too heavy for fragile or soft surfaces

Festivals are a unique working environment and the combination of large crowds, unpredictable weather and unusual locations means work needs to be completed quickly and safely with minimal impact on everything going on around the site. Powered access platforms can work safely on most ground surfaces and are mobile so they can easily move around the site. Whether you are going to a festival or enjoying the music at home, access platforms have become as essential to event organisers as wellies are to the crowds.