Buying a powered access platform is a major investment for most businesses that work at height, however it is important to safeguard against machine theft and incorrect use.
When working on a busy location such as a construction site, it’s not uncommon for larger access equipment to be left there overnight if it is being used over several days. If this is the case, then it is really important to make sure machines are left locked and secure.
Unauthorised use can be extremely dangerous, especially if it is operated by a person who isn’t trained and competent (a requirement of UK law). They could be risking their lives and the lives of anyone in the area and it is the duty of employers to implement security measures when the machine is not in use.
Most powered access platforms are switched on with a key so managing who has the keys and where they are at the end of the day is very important. Keys should only be issued to authorised operators and returned by them at the end of the job.
When access equipment is not in use:
– Whether at break time or overnight take out the keys and make sure they are handed into a manager or in the care of a responsible person.
– It should be left in a designated space, preferably a secure compound or area which cannot be accessed by the general public
– Make sure the machine is parked in the transport position, with the main power switched off and any parking brakes or wheel chocks applied.
There are additional security features measures available on specific makes and models of powered access platform. These include:
Battery isolation switch – These enable the primary battery power supply to be disconnected by a switch that can then be physically locked in the off-position.
Smart cards – Operatives can swipe a pre-authorised card or fob across a reader or sensor in order to authorise use of the access equipment.
A sheltered site, shed or secure compound which cannot be accessed by the general public will prevent any wear and tear which can occur even when the machine is not in use and will, ultimately, extend its lifespan. If the access equipment has to be left outside it is worth investing in a strong and durable cover to protect it from the elements.
The employer or owner of the access equipment is responsible for ensuring workplace safety for the duration of the job. When it is not on site it is important to apply the same duty of care to private storage facilities to prevent theft and unauthorised use.