Tips for Powered Access Platform Managers

Access platform managers play an important role in making sure the work is completed safely, efficiently and on budget.

Management is sometimes the result of being self-employed or owning and business and, for others, it is a natural progression of their skills and experience as a powered access operative.

Whatever route you take to management the rules are the same and the person in charge is responsible for ensuring the job runs on time and to budget without compromising health and safety of workers or anyone around the work area.

Planning and organisation are the key to well managed job. Access platform managers are responsible for spotting potential hazards and taking action to avoid the causes of serious injury or even death such as falls, overtipping or entrapment.

Managers have the serious responsibility of completing a risk assessment. The risk assessment should include ground conditions in all work areas and any obstructions such as overhead power lines, buildings or branches.

It should be fully documented and reviewed throughout the course of the job to account for changeable conditions, like the weather. It should also include rescue contingency plans and it is the manager’s job to make sure everyone is aware of what to do if something goes wrong.

A range of health and safety legislation governs the safe use of powered access platforms including the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Access Platform Managers Role

The manager should be aware of all legal requirements relating to the operation of access equipment to ensure safe working and avoid costly delays or dangerous accidents.

Under UK law all access equipment operatives should also be fully trained and accredited before they work with any machine. The manager is responsible for making sure and operatives are trained and familiarised with the specific make and model they are using.

Equipment Selection
Choosing the right access equipment for a specific job is essential as different makes and models are suitable for different jobs and locations.  The choice of equipment will depend on a range of factors including site access, ground conditions, obstacles and mobility.

Powered access platforms should be serviced every six months with a full record kept of any work or maintenance. Managers also need to allow time for pre-start checks before each job and should sign off the safe operation of the machine.

Training for access platform managers
To get to grips with all the specific responsibilities of being a manager there is specialist training available to progress skills to an advanced level.

The industry body for powered access platforms, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), runs a training course tailored specifically to the needs of management level staff.

The course covers all aspects of planning, supervising and managing the use of access platforms, including health and safety regulations, accident prevention and control, personal protection equipment, and pre-use checks and maintenance and is available from IPAF approved training facilities across the UK.

Managing a job using powered access platforms is a serious responsibility but guidance is available to progress to the next level. The manager has the final responsibility for making sure the job runs smoothly and safely which will boost productivity, establish the company reputation and safeguard the workforce against serious injury or harm.