Whether you own or rent a platform or scissor lift at work, an accident could have serious consequences. Although health and safety within the construction industry has improved exponentially over the last few years, falls from height are still the biggest cause of death and injury on construction sites, mainly due to a lack of training and proper care when using work at height equipment.
Careless use of work at height equipment puts everyone at risk and could lead to injury or even death for the operator as well as serious legal ramifications for the business owner if the proper protocol has not been followed.
However, the majority of accidents and incidents can be avoided with proper training and machinery inspections. Anyone operating a boom or scissor lift should be fully qualified to IPAF standards and once trained operators should undertake regular refresher courses to keep Health and safety at the forefront of their mind, making IPAF training an absolute essential for anyone working at height using machinery like cherry pickers or equipment such as scaffold towers.
IPAF training is designed for anyone who operates a Mobile Elevating Work Platform or MEWP or who will be operating this type of machinery in a new job. Upon course completion delegates should receive a Powered Access licence or PAL card to prove they are qualified to operate a mobile elevating work platform.
When looking for a training company it is essential to ensure that they are running the correct course for you and that anyone attending the course will end up with the right qualification. You can choose to attend a training centre or book training within your own workplace, depending on your preference. Once training has been carried out and candidates have received their license it is valid for a period of five years.
When training has been received it is a good idea for staff to check the IPAF website regularly to find out about any updates and refamiliarise themselves with safety procedures. For company owners and managers, it is essential to ensure all staff training is up to date as an expired license could lead to serious ramifications if an accident occurs.
As well as regular training refresher courses, managers should also make health and safety awareness an important part of their management and carry out on site refresher courses and give regular health and safety updates to all staff, especially if there is a change in legislation or company policy.
As with all types of working at height equipment and machinery, it is necessary to perform regular check-ups to ensure equipment is working correctly. In general machinery suppliers can also provide maintenance services as part of their contract. Scissor lifts needed to be inspected twice a year by law and you plan to buy used equipment always make sure it is been professionally refurbished by qualified engineers and that it has a warranty.
In addition to these safety precautions, regular risk assessments should be carried out, workers should never climb or lean on guardrails, the capacity of load should not be exceeded and the correct safety clothing should be worn at all times.