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Part 2: Proper Training Essential for Safe Use of Lift Equipment
By Thomas A. Westerkamp
February 2013 -
Equipment Rental & Tools
Trained and experienced equipment operators are essential to ensure the safe use of lift equipment. Failing to follow safety guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), overloading equipment, or using it for purposes for which it was not designed can cause injury and void the warranty.
Technicians generally master the basic skills of lift navigation quickly, but doing so can create a false sense of security in an untrained user. Many safety issues related to the use of lifts require more extensive training through OSHA-approved courses or those approved by other authorities having jurisdiction.
A job plan prepared by a dedicated maintenance planner with training and experience in the project being planned is an excellent training tool. The planner begins by reviewing the work to be done, history records, and field-checking the job sites. With this information, the planner prepares written job plans consisting of four sections:
Work content and staffing. This section states the project in terms of steps to be performed, not simply in terms of the problem. For example, the description would not be "Windows are dirty." Instead, it would be, "Wash and dry 40 windows on four floors, inside and out; crew of two; 6.7 hours." This description contains qualitative information — a description of the work — and quantitative data — the number of windows, hours, workers, and the needed skills.
Materials. In the above example, this part of the plan describes the specific cleaning products and proper preparation that workers will need to address, such as the dilution of cleaning concentrates.
Tools and equipment. This section consists of the spray bottle or rag applicator, and squeegee for drying, again listing the most productive size of each for the window size. Equipment includes specific type and size of aerial lift or scaffolding.
Safety. A comprehensive safety plan contains detailed information about the other three components of the plan. It includes personal protective equipment, as well as special requirements regarding fall protection, an aerial lift pre-operation checklist, signage equipment, and permits. The advantage of having this plan prepared by a skilled maintenance technician, who is reassigned and dedicated to full-time planning, is significant. A technician's depth of knowledge and experience affects only the jobs to which he or she is personally assigned. By contrast, a planner working for all the technicians in a supervisor's crew benefits everyone who uses the plans.
Equipment Rental - Lifts
Part 1: Work Lifts Deliver Efficiency and Productivity
Part 3: Lift-Equipment Rental Projects Require Effective Staffing Plan