Safety Aspects of Access Equipment
When you are working at height there is obvious risk involved and I would strongly recommend that you undertake a thorough risk assesment before beginning to operate your access platform. In this section I'm going to talk about some of the safety features common to most access equipment.
Safety Specifications - With the rise in popularity and use of access equipment, there unfortunately came a rise in accidents too. In response the Government introduced a range of measures to ensure that sufficient measures were taken by owners of access equipment to reasonably avoid accidents As part of the Governments legislation, ( AS-2550.10-2006 ) they introduced the Working at Height Regulations; these consolidated all previous legislation regarding working at height.
There are also regulations surrounding the inspection of lifting equipment and under AS-2550.10-2006 (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment).
Operator's Manual - Every access platform must have an operators manual, this is normally inside the manual box which most access platforms come fitted with. The manuals offer invaluable information about how to safely use your paticualr piece of access equipment, things like the safe working load, floor loadings, information on what the different controls do and lots of other useful information. Please read it!
Safety Decals - For any piece of access equipment to be considered safe to use under AS-2550.10-2006 regulations there are a number of safety decals that it must have on it. The safe working load of the access platform is one; another is the wind speed decal, there are a few others but these two are considered to be the most important. So when you are looking at any access platform you should confirm with the person you are speaking with that it has all the necessary safety decals fitted.
Speed Limiter - A feature found on nearly every access platform is the speed limiter, this is a safety feature that should automatically cut-in once you have taken your access platform past a certain height. What this actually does is stop the access platform from being driven at full speed while elevated, for reasons which I hope are self explanatory. The speed limiter, once activated, normally cuts the drive speed to under 1mph.
Pothole Protection - This clever little safety feature tackles a major issue found on some very early scissor lift designs. The speed you are driving at is completely irrelevant if you should inadvertently drive over a pothole, you still run a serious risk of being thrown about in the platform which can lead to serious injury. These days when your scissor lift is moving around a solid steel bar is deployed between your wheels on either side of the machine and this limits the amount of movement your scissor lift can make, if you hit a pothole.
Level Sensors - These are genuine life savers, the level sensors work by cutting out all functions other than those required to bring the machine back within its safe working envelope. You'll be glad these are fitted as standard, especially if you are new to using access equipment.
Just a few of the safety features fitted to access equipment to help you keep safe.