Elevated Work Platforms: An Introduction and Guide to Safe Use

Elevated Work Platforms AusDirect Hire Group

Elevated Work Platforms (EWPs), also known as aerial work platforms, are mechanical devices used to provide temporary access to inaccessible areas at height. They are widely used in various industries such as construction, maintenance, events and warehousing for tasks like painting, window cleaning, tree trimming, and electrical installations. This article will discuss three types of EWPs: Scissor Lifts, Boom Lifts, and Man Lifts, along with their unique features, applications, and safety hazards. Additionally, it will cover EWP accessories and legal requirements, finishing with tips on proper operation and maintenance.

Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts are a popular type of EWP that use supports in a scissor action to raise or lower the platform, usually electrically or hydraulically powered. They can come designed for indoor use or for use in outdoor, rough terrain areas. They are considered a safer alternative to ladders or scaffolding and provide a stable work platform that can be adjusted to the appropriate height.

Unique Features: Scissor lifts have a large, stable working platform capable of carrying multiple workers, tools, and equipment. They are typically powered by electricity, making them suitable for indoor use due to zero emissions.

Applications: These lifts are commonly used in construction, maintenance, events and warehousing for tasks like ceiling repairs, light installations, and inventory management.

Safety Hazards: Potential hazards when using scissor lifts include tip-overs, falls from height, and entrapment between the lift and other structures. Workers should be trained to operate the lift safely and always wear appropriate fall protection equipment.

Boom Lifts

Boom lifts, also known as cherry pickers, consist of a hydraulic arm that can extend and move in multiple directions. They offer greater flexibility and range compared to scissor lifts.

Unique Features: The main feature of boom lifts is their ability to reach over obstacles and work at different angles. They come in two varieties: telescopic booms, which extend straight out, and articulating booms, which have jointed sections for increased maneuverability.

Applications: Boom lifts are used in a wide range of industries, including construction, maintenance, telecommunications, and utility work. They are suitable for tasks like painting, tree trimming, and installing signage.

Safety Hazards: Similar to scissor lifts, boom lift operators must be aware of tip-over risks, falls from height, and electrocution hazards when working near power lines. Proper training and fall protection equipment is essential.

Man Lifts

Man lifts are compact EWPs that use a vertical mast to raise a platform. They are designed for reaching smaller heights and working in tight spaces.

Unique Features: Due to their small footprint and lightweight design, man lifts can be easily moved and positioned. They are ideal for indoor use and are often electric-powered.

Applications: Man lifts are commonly employed in retail stores, offices, and other indoor environments for tasks like lightbulb replacements, duct cleaning, and banner installations.

Safety Hazards: Although man lifts are generally stable, operators should still be cautious of tip-overs, falls, and crushing hazards between the lift and surrounding structures.

EWP Accessories and Legal Requirements

Various accessories can be added to EWPs to enhance their functionality, such as material handling attachments. It’s important to comply with legal requirements regarding EWP use, which may vary across countries or regions. These requirements may include operator certification, periodic inspections, and adherence to safety standards such as the use of safety harnesses in a boom-type EWP.

Tips for Safe EWP Operation and Maintenance

  1. Proper Training: Ensure that all operators receive comprehensive training on the specific EWP model they will use.
  2. Pre-Use Inspection: Conduct thorough inspections before each use to check for any damage or malfunctions.
  3. Adhere to Load Limits: Never exceed the specified weight capacity of the EWP.
  4. Stabilize the EWP: Always use outriggers, brakes, and wheel chocks when necessary to stabilize the EWP.
  5. Regular Maintenance: Schedule routine maintenance to ensure the EWP remains in optimal working condition and lowers the risk of accidents.

By following these guidelines and understanding the unique features, applications, and safety hazards of each EWP type, operators can work efficiently and safely at heights.

If you have any questions about EWP’s, our friendly team of experts are here to help.

If you would like to speak with one of our expert team members, they are looking forward to chatting with you!

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