User Guide of a Lifting Platform: Everything There is to Know
Posted by Nathalie Parpal on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 15:58
The lifting platform is another tool more and more used to lift workers that must work in heights. Conceived for the user’s comfort and security, it however necessitates a very precise use to avoid accidents. Here are a few elements to take into consideration to safely use a lifting platform.
Paying close attention to our environment
When the task is performed outside, the worker must make sure the area is adequate and safe. The land surface must be capable to support an important load without the risk of collapsing. Many checkups can be made, even going as far as a complete geotechnical investigation. Before displaying the lifting platform, it’s important to check if there aren’t electric wires that could potentially be dangerous.
For interior work, the lifting platform operator must be aware of the maximum height he can reach to avoid injuries in the jamming area, meaning the gap between the guardrail and the superior beams.
Being aware of the lifting platform’s safety components.
1- The safety harness
In Canada, every worker that must perform a task at a height of more than 3m of the ground must mandatorily wear a safety harness. However, workers on a lifting platform don’t have to wear the harness, even if it’s highly recommended. Furthermore, the safety harness must be checked by the employee before each use and each year, a supplier must attest that the used equipment is safe.
2- The guardrail
The most used protective device, the guardrail is used to avoid falling from heights by framing the lifting platform. Solidly anchored to the platform, it is conceived to resist to occasional shocks caused by the horizontal movement of the worker.
3- Emergency lowering and stop device
Every lifting platform must be supplied with a remote device placed at ground level that will allow command operations if the lifted worker on the lifting platform isn’t able to do so, notably in case of technical issues or illness. It’s important that all your employees are informed of its functioning.
Being aware of risks linked to the use of a lifting platform with articulated arm
Like for the standard lifting platform, the safety harness isn’t mandatory with the use of a lifting platform with an articulated arm. However, the user must be aware that the articulated arm brings along a supplemental risk of ejection from the lifting platform by whipping effect. Indeed, many specific situations can cause the fall of the worker in the nacelle, like the sudden movement of the vehicle supporting the nacelle. To prevent risks of accident, it is highly recommended to use a fall arrest system like a harness, a lanyard or an absorber.
Avoiding getting out of a lifting platform in height
According to the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), getting out of a lifting platform when it’s in height isn’t justified. However, there are some exceptional situations allowing the use of a lifting platform to get to a working point in height. For instance, the worker can leave the lifting platform if the risk evaluation showed it was the safest and justifiable way to access a specific point in height.
If such a situation takes place, several preventive measures must be taken. It is indeed recommended that the operator remains on the lifting platform in the entirety of the procedure while taking the necessary measures to minimize sudden movements. The worker must use the specific fixed points to get out of the lifting platform and cannot at any time climb over the safety rail. Simultaneously, an external resource must watch the procedure and be ready to intervene at all times if a problem arises.
Encourage employee training
Many accidents could’ve been avoided if workers had received proper training. Thus, several trainings are offered to employers to form workers and incite them to develop safe working methods and skills to operate lifting platforms according to established safety standards and practices. The main goal of training on the use of a lifting platform is to learn to recognize causes of accidents and to implement methods to prevent them.