What are the most important safety precautions when using boom lifts?Anna Ramsden
Boom lifts are a safety machine allowing work at height, commonly referred to as a Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP). The Klubb Group and CPL offers a large selection of models in order to fit with the requirements of many different sectors such as telecom, CCTV or street lighting installation and maintenance. These allow rapid interventions in places that may be difficult to access. Designed to safely accommodate one or more operators in their basket, the aerial platforms can replace traditional scaffolding or ladders and are a real time saver.
Despite their ease of use, it is necessary to follow several safety rules.
Here are the 10 safety precautions when using a boom lift which are important to know and respect.
Often carelessness, lack of vigilance or inadequate training can lead to accidents. It is therefore important to understand how the machine works and what to look for.
- Train and verify the skills of its operators
The platform must be operated by people that have received training in the handling of aerial work platforms. Even if a safe driving aptitude certificate is not mandatory it is strongly recommended to have it before working at height. You will learn a lot about what to look out for when operating and working with cherry pickers.
- Inspect the machine
It is essential to walk around the machine in order to detect any possible faults. Do not hesitate to use a checklist made available by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF).
When vehicle leasing, it is also important to check that all documents for the vehicle and the platform are in your possession. These include, MOT, Loler and Service records and the manual.
- Make sure the work area is secure
It is possible that the working environment presents more risks than the platform, pay attention to tree branches, electric cables, vehicles …. As you work outside, be especially vigilant to the power of the wind. Read Klubb’s article about it: When is it too windy to use a boom lift ?
- Take care during work on public roads
It is essential to plan your work on public roads. As soon as you work in an urban environment, it is always important to ensure your safety but also be vigilant of others! Be visible! Manage traffic!.. are only basic examples, follow the IPAF advice.
- Do not use a basket for handling or lifting too much weight
Aerial work platforms are only intended for lifting people and tools at height. They are not designed as handling equipment. They should therefore not be used as cranes to move objects or materials. The basket is fitted with a weight limit label. This should not be exceeded.
- Respect the payload of your equipment
It is important not to overload the picker with equipment, excess people etc. The vehicle will be registered to a certain weight. If the access platform is overloaded it becomes unsafe. Police are cracking down on overloaded vehicles more and more. Consider purchasing a higher class MEWP, like the KL32 4.5t Cutaway, if you need the extra capacity.
- Respect your equipment’s built-in safety devices
The safety devices integrated into your boom lift have been designed for your safety. The override functions should only be used in an emergency and can be found in the user manual or on the QR code videos.
- Protect your whole body during work at height
We recommend that you wear full PPE, personal protective equipment, to protect yourself when operating or working near a MEWP. In general, the whole body can and should be protected during work at height in an aerial platform. The most basic requirements which are an absolute must are a well fitting harness, a lanyard and a hard hat or bump cap.
- Your platform model must be suitable for the work you are carrying out
Your equipment should match with the work to be done, max. working height / max. lateral outreach / capacity / rotation…. For example if you need to work outside of the basket this is not the equipment you need. It can be overwhelming when you initially look at using an access platform for your work at height. Consult our team of specialists first. They will guide you through the options and suggest the best model for your work.
- Do not ignore any of the above safety instructions
All the above precautions must be respected to ensure the upmost safety. Whatever the immediacy of your project, the most important thing is the safety of yourself and others around you!
Due to the heights that they can reach, accidents involving aerial work platforms can be very serious. Keep in mind that a good compliance with safety rules significantly prevents the risk of accidents.
We also advise you to stay up to date with the manufacturer’s safety information and user manuals. You will find many tips and recommendations in this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section.