Raise Your Safety on Elevated Powered Platforms
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What’s at Stake?
There are many different types of elevated work platforms. They go by many names, but they all have a common purpose: to raise and position personnel, their tools and materials to perform tasks not accessible from the ground.
What’s the Danger?
Some hazards include uncorrected mechanical defects, environmental conditions, such as wind or lightning, falls from heights and overhead hazards, such as support structures or power lines. Most injuries occur when a worker hits an overhead hazard or falls off the platform.
One cold November morning, a construction crew arrived at their job site and climbed onto the work platform to begin their day.
One worker stayed behind to operate the platform from the ground, raising the others to the fifth story. However, one laborer realized he needed to be on the fourth floor that day, so he asked his co-worker to lower the platform to the fourth floor.
As the platform descended, the victim attempted to enter the building through a window opening. The operator on the ground told him to wait a minute until he was positioned correctly.
But the victim responded, ‘That’s okay, buddy. No problem.” As he placed his feet on the sill, he slipped and fell forward, hitting his chin on the window. He fell 61 feet to the ground below and was pronounced dead at the scene.
How to Protect Yourself
No matter what type of elevated platform you’re using, there are two basic ways to ensure your safety.
- Conduct a job hazard analysis and safety Inspection
- Identify each step in the job and consider every potential hazard, including environmental conditions, and how to eliminate or address it.
- Inspect the work zone for obstructions, including overhead power lines.
- Inspect the platform for:
- Overall condition
- Uncontrolled motions
- Loose connections
- Cracked welds
- Broken or fraying wire ropes
- Damaged wires or lines
- Worn brakes
Ensure all parts of the equipment affecting safe operation are well-maintained. Damaged or malfunctioning equipment must be removed from service immediately.
If your lift is rented, you may not know the controls or how it’s been maintained. Never use an unfamiliar lift without training and instruction and always inspect it before use.
- Follow these safe work procedures
- Do not exceed the load capacity of the platform.
- Don’t alter, substitute, or remove components of the platform.
- Wear the required personal protection equipment, including the recommended fall protection.
- Keep the platform free of hazards and obstructions that could cause slips, trips, and falls.
- Ensure all guardrails and toe boards are in place.
- Close safety gates and guard chains.
- Always stay inside the bucket or railings.
- Maintain firm footing on the platform floor and do not work on a slippery platform.
- Do not stand, sit or climb on guardrails or use ladders or planks to gain extra height.
- Secure hand tools to the platform.
- Do not drop anything from the platform.
- Stay at least 10 feet (three meters) away from power lines.
Follow these safety precautions to avoid injury or death when working with elevated platforms.