4 FM quick reads on aerial lifts
1. Weighing the Choices in the Aerial Work Arena
When narrowing down the options for the most appropriate piece of lift equipment, one of the primary determinants — besides specifying desired equipment features and proper accessories — is the length of service required and the anticipated frequency of use. If a manager is responsible for an integrated maintenance and construction department that has a continuous need for an aerial work platform and heavy lifting for a fairly continuous schedule of construction and maintenance tasks, the most appropriate option is to buy either a new unit or a reconditioned unit.
To determine the best option, a good place to start is to review the past several years' worth of work-order activity and the backlog of work still to be done, with the goal of identifying the tasks that require aerial equipment. Answering several key questions is essential to determine the optimum aerial equipment selection.
What kinds of tasks can managers anticipate that will require an aerial work platform? Personnel or material lifting? Electrical-insulator cleaning? Window washing and or tuckpointing building exteriors? Interior or exterior relamping? Structural construction work? Roof repair or construction? HVAC component installation, repair or replacement?
After assessing tasks that require an aerial work platform for technicians, the next step is to sort the tasks by the type of equipment each requires. This process will reveal the best options.
Before making a final decision, managers also need to consider the availability of storage space for the equipment, as well as heavy-equipment operations and maintenance staff to use the equipment and perform repairs and preventive maintenance necessary to keep the equipment in top condition over the long haul.
Managers also must consider the cost and space requirements of parts inventories for the aerial word platforms, as well as repair-shop space, tools and equipment, such as a lift or grease pit. Along with these requirements, safety, operation and maintenance training programs are needed to support the effort.
2. How to Lower the Cost of Lift Rental
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is lowering the cost of renting aerial lift equipment.
Before managers can specify the right aerial lift equipment, they have several additional issues to consider to maximize the investment of time and money. To lower the cost per job, managers can combine several overhead jobs and schedule them simultaneously. The goal is to justify the transport cost from the rental agency to user site by fully using the aerial lift platform while it is on site. This means having several different projects ready to start when the unit arrives.
To ensure selection of the most appropriate lift for the various purposes, managers must consider the range of maintenance and engineering tasks that require accessing difficult-to-reach locations. Then they can select the aerial lift that can accommodate the worst conditions at each site — largest height, longest reach, largest load, etc. — that form a perfect storm of challenging applications and conditions.
Among the strategies to achieve this goal are these: Search the department's computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) database and completed work orders to identify hardest-to-reach job sites
• Review work orders to determine if technicians used special lift equipment.
• Tour the job sites to evaluate the conditions.
• Watch workers operate the particular aerial lift in locations similar to the planned site.
• Evaluate the job sites and applications using the seven questions above.
• Use a combination of the most demanding criteria to compile the list of specifications for the desired aerial lift platform.
3. Aerial Work Platforms: Safety Tips
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is getting a grip on aerial work platform safety.
Technology advances and ongoing safety considerations related to lift equipment make it even more important than ever that managers make training a key issue in purchasing or renting an aerial work platform.
First, managers need to understand the different levels of training related to aerial work platforms. They include:
• General product training, which is available from the International Powered Access Federation or a rental dealer. This training can last up to a full day and gives participants certification to operate lift equipment.
• Machine-specific training, which can take about 45 minutes and is provided by the manufacturer or rental agency when the customer receives the piece of equipment. This training seeks to ensure operators know the particulars of a specific piece of equipment.
Beyond simply arranging for training, managers must ensure the training addresses the specific safety challenges equipment operators face daily, including the most common mistakes related to aerial work platforms. Most often, mistakes occur when users' minds drift away from a focus on safety.
Common mistakes by lift-equipment operators include:
• Not being fully aware of job-site hazards, including potholes and overhead obstructions
• Modifying or overriding safety equipment.
• Failing to perform a complete pre-start inspection
• Failing to become familiar with the manufacturer's operating manual.
4. Specifying Personnel Lifts
This is Chris Matt, Associate Editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is key considerations in specifying personnel lifts.
The latest generation of lifts offers advanced safety features designed to address the most common safety hazards and violations. The challenge for managers is to specify a lift that meets worker needs while reinforcing the message of safety with appropriate training.
When specifying personnel lifts, managers should not focus only on the safety features related to a specific maintenance task. Instead, they need to focus on all phases of the equipment process to make solid decisions when specifying equipment and training operators and technicians.
These phases start with essential steps before operation, including training, planning, preparation, and inspection.
Key considerations also relate to the actual work period, including the following: properly moving the lift; climbing onto it; wearing personal protective equipment, including fall protection; raising and lowering the platform; checking for overhead obstructions; on-the-job supervision; and moving workers and tools on the elevated platform.
The final set of considerations involves post-operation requirements, including proper cleanup, storage, and security, as well as weekly, monthly, annual, and additional service requirements. Proper cleanup and storage includes removing all tools, equipment and materials from the lift platform and stowing them in lockers or returning them to stores.
The operator also should check safety devices to ensure they are in their out-of-use position and ready for the next user.