4 FM quick reads on lifts
1. 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.
2. Lift Specification: Answer Seven Questions
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media, with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is answering seven questions for lift specification.
The questions include:
What size aerial work platform does the job require? Managers can answer this question by determining technicians' needs for height and reach, platform space for workers, and materials and tools.
What load capacity does the job call for? Capacity is a measure of the power needed to raise loads to the working height.
Is the unit easy to use? If the task is a straightforward application, a manager can specify basic operating controls. But if the task involves a complicated combination of terrain and reach requirements, managers might need a computerized dashboard that calculates the load and matches it with the application.
What power source is required? Generally, lighter capacities use electricity, and heavier capacities use diesel fuel or liquid propane, but a considerable overlap exists.
What options or accessories do technicians need? For example, if workers are changing fluorescent lamps, they need lamp holders that conserve space and minimize the chance of breakage.
What obstructions might be present? A walk-though of the work site can reveal several potential obstructions on the ground and overhead. Ground obstructions can include obstacles workers must maneuver around, including trees, guard rails, lamp posts, and other vehicles and equipment that can be in different locations.
Finally, what operator training is required? In the interest of providing a safe operator environment, agencies have developed standards for renting aerial lifts that include specific training methods.
3. Specifying the Right Lift for the Job
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media, with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is identifying the right lift for the job.
Most facilities present front-line technicians with a host of hard-to-access job sites for maintenance and engineering tasks. The challenge facing managers is finding the right piece of equipment to bridge the gap. Aerial work platforms, or lifts, come in an array of sizes and styles, including telehandlers, scissor lifts, telescope lifts, and boom lifts. They offer features and functions designed to address the full range of activities technicians undertake daily in and around institutional and commercial facilities.
Managers can apply several guidelines when specifying lift equipment. Telehandlers typically offer the greatest load capacity. Scissor lifts typically offer the most work-platform space. Telescope and boom lifts usually have the greatest ranges of elevation. Articulated boom lifts typically offer the greatest reach flexibility.
- In deciding which lift to select, managers need to consider six factors:
- inside vs. outside tasks
- transport clearances to the job, including doorways
- surface conditions, including whether the surface is paved or unpaved, whether the terrain is level or sloped or even or rough, and if obstacles are present
- elevation and reach to the work site
- personnel, tools, utilities -- compressed air and electricity, for example -- and accessories for the job
- and finally, storage space for the lift
4. Personnel Lifts: Warranty Considerations
This is Chris Matt, Associate Editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is understanding warranty options during lift specification.
When specifying aerial work platforms, managers should make technicians aware that modifying lift equipment can void the warranty. Technicians need to check with the manufacturer before doing so because safety might be at stake.
For example, converting a pallet lift into a personnel lift by adding a cage attached to the forks not only might void the warranty. It also might increase torque in a way the equipment was not designed to handle, making it unstable and more likely to tip over. Adding a counterweight can stress components, possibly resulting in hairline cracks that weaken, distort and ultimately cause the part to fail.
Warranties usually require user registration to establish the start date of the warranty period. Programs vary by manufacturer, equipment and even component. For instance, one manufacturer offers a one-two-five warranty — that is, one year on parts, two years on the drive train, and five years on structural members.
Managers also can buy certain used pieces of equipment with a warranty, which usually is shorter than one for a new unit. But it pays to check this out when considering a used unit’s value.
Managers also must consider whether the warranty includes a loaner while the repair is being made. If so, what is the delivery time? Some programs include a rapid replacement policy, either on the same day or within 24 hours. But even this backup arrangement can be costly if the situation results in idle workers who must wait for the replacement lift equipment to arrive.
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