The bottom line is that managers seeking to successfully select aerial work platforms must carefully match specifications with the work. Be aware of the jobsite changes, both at the beginning and all the way through the various phases the project.
For example, when the project begins, workers have staged all materials in clearly defined staging areas. But as the job progresses, they might move material and equipment temporarily, creating obstructions where none had existed. Where smooth, level ground surfaces had been located at the beginning, partially closed trenches or other drop-offs might exist later.
Make sure the equipment specifications and accessories can handle all phases of the job, including required functions, workplace obstructions, and weather conditions. Cab enclosures have improved substantially in recent years. Now cabs can feature climate controls that allow work to progress in hot, cold, wet, snowy or icy conditions.
It also is necessary for managers and staff to stay abreast of technology advances. Have the manufacturer's technical representative walk potential equipment users through the latest technical innovations, demonstrating the way they work, their benefits, and the way they affect adjustments in specifications. Then have the representative guide the preparation of training specifications so the training matches all requirements, including the innovations specified.
Aerial work platform suppliers can provide useful selection charts. For instance, one uses the What/Where/How format to aid managers in selecting the most appropriate lift. The What section asks whether the purpose is for personnel or material lifting. Does the project call for an aerial lift work platform or a telehandler for large structural components? The Where section asks if the location is indoors — an electric unit might be best — outside, or both — a diesel, propane or gas model might work best.
The How section asks the lifting height, whether lifts will be straight up — a scissor lift — reaching out — a boom lift — or reaching up, over, and down around obstructions — an articulated boom lift. From these basics, the specifier can go into more details for selecting the right accessories, including: insulation and grounding for electrical work; fall protection; special material holders, such as vertical fluorescent tube holders for lighting replacement; hookups for power or welding equipment; and platform extensions for more worker and tool space.
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