Critical Facilities Summit

4  FM quick reads on aerial work platforms

1. 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.


2.  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.

3.  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.

4.  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


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aerial work platforms , lifts , aerial lifts , equipment rental



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