Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why Training Is Now A Necessity For Those Using A Scissor Lift


Since 2005 new Work at Height Regulations have been in effect as a way to improve safety in all manner of industries that use mobile access machinery, the scissor lift and scaffolding. Part of these regulations have been created to make sure that the person using powered access machinery has had a suitable level of training. By ensuring there are always workers with training when people are using access machinery, it is hoped that safety will be increased. The scissor lift falls into the powered access machinery category, being referred to as a mobile elevated platform or MEWP for short.

MEWPs are used in a large variety of industries, allowing workers to reach inaccessible areas speedily and safely. The contemporary scissor lift has been designed with guard rails that actively work towards preventing falls and dangerous situations. This type of machinery can also be used in interiors and exteriors meaning it is a far reaching mobile access solution. In terms of the usability of the scissor lift, painters and decorators regularly use them, as do maintenance workers such as electricians who need to access wiring in large halls or auditoriums. It is hoped that by the release of the Work at height Regulations 2005 that the safety in all of these industries will be improved, allowing workers to perform their roles safely and effectively.

Training courses are in abundance when it comes to the use of the scissor lift. With effective training operators are given the knowledge to select thee right lift for the job, part of this process includes taking account of the maximum height of the lift, how large the platform is and the amount of safety equipment affixed to the platform. It is not just the government however that have strived to making the use of powered access machinery safer, IPAF and independent body of manufacturers and users has recently embarked upon a 'clunk, click' campaign. This campaign resembles the road safety variant of the same name and attempts to put safety issues at the forefront of all workers' minds that utilise mechanised lifting solutions. IPAF are also working in conjunction with government ministers to further develop the safety procedures for working at height to create a safer working environment.

As previously stated having training means that the selection of the right equipment is assured. This thought process must first assess the height of the job as a machine that only reaches with the worker at full stretch will not be suitable. In addition, training enables operators to make an assessment of the working area. Factors such as nearby doorways, any external weather condition, such as high winds, and the surface the machinery is to be placed upon should all be taken into account. Once again having suitable knowledge to recognise the risks posed by oncoming traffic or overhanging hazards is essential.

As a part of the Work at Height Regulations, training is considered a legal necessity. As an employer it is important to ensure all staff members working on access equipment have had training, otherwise legal penalties can become an issue. None of these developments should be begrudged however, with accidents costing thousands in compensation, as well as the human costs of debilitating injuries or even death, the response of the government to make the use of powered access machinery is an understandable and required response.

Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic

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