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Spotlight on Safety: Safely Operating Work Platforms and Man Baskets

Here at Medlin Ramps, we share your convictions that worker safety has to be the top priority on any job site, especially one where people are elevated and suffer the risk of falls due to errors or mechanical failures.  With that in mind, we put a little primer together on the top safety precautions you should take any time you are working with an aerial work platform supported by forks, scissors, masts or booms.

  1. Inspect what you expect.  Before anyone goes up on an aerial work platform, you've got to be 100% sure that the equipment has been inspected for proper working condition, state of repair, maintenance schedule and compliance with the operations manual.  This also means keeping an eye out for any obvious damage to the equipment, like loose wires, damaged controls or cables, fluid leaks, bent or broken structural elements and cracks in the welds.
  2. Ensure your workers have the information they need to safely operate the equipment.  OSHA has strict guidelines about the information that needs to be posted on any aerial work platform.  It includes information about whether the equipment is electrically insulated, what it's rated work load has been determined to be, and any special cautions, restrictions or anything else someone needs to know before operating it.  Of course, on all Medlin equipment, you will always find all the necessary equipment to ensure you are in compliance with not just OSHA standards, but the highest standards for safety in the industry.
  3. Be sure your employees know their stuff.  This seems like a no-brainer, but it would shock you to learn how many job sites have aerial work platforms operated by someone who has never received proper training.  Employees need to know everything about their equipment before thy send someone up (or go up themselves,) including avoiding hazards above, below and beside the equipment, and how much gear they can carry with them when they go up in the air.  When you provide the necessary training to your employees – both in the classroom and on the job – be sure to document it thoroughly and maintain a well-organized file on your employees' professional development.  The inspectors will want to look at this if they drop by unannounced one day!
  4. Keep a sharp eye out for hazards that could jeopardize your workers' safety.  You may know all of these, but do your workers?
    • Never operate a work platform within ten feet of power lines, unless it is thoroughly electrically insulated.
    • Never operate a work platform within ten feet of power lines unless the worker going up has all the proper protective equipment and the training necessary to work near energized lines.
    • Never move a vehicle with an aerial lift until you are sure the cradling is proper and the outriggers are stowed.  Also, never move a vehicle while someone is up in the air!
    • Always ensure that you workers are using proper equipment, such as safety harnesses, restraint devices, body belts or whatever the situation calls for.

At Medlin Ramps, we care about your safety!  Check back in with this blog for more tips throughout the month.

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