Many employers wonder whether it is safe for their employees to exit or enter aerial lifts when working at great heights. Some jurisdictions have guidelines on how this can be done, others are silent on the matter. This article discusses some measures that you can put in place to limit the risks that your employees may face in case they exit or enter an aerial lift while it is elevated at a work site. Such incidences of entry/exit may be motivated by a desire to get better access to a work area (such as when painting a warehouse wall).
Secure the Device Onto the Building
The first thing that you need to do is to secure the work platform (aerial lift) onto the building. This will help to stabilise that platform as the employee's weight is shifted onto the edge of the platform as he or she exits or gets into it. That stability will prevent the aerial lift from tipping over. You can use nylon straps to secure the work platform onto the building. Alternatively, contact the supplier of that work platform for advice on which products are recommended for securing the platform onto a building.
Provide Fall Protection Devices
Oftentimes, employees rely on the aerial lift only to safeguard them as they work. This means that they may not have any protective device once they walk off that aerial lift. Limit their likelihood of sustaining serious injuries when they fall by providing fall arresters. For instance, you can set up guidelines that stipulate that any worker who walks off an aerial lift must wear a harness that will stop him or her from falling to the ground.
Conduct a Detailed Risk Assessment
Another crucial step you can take to reduce the risks that your workers face is by performing a risk assessment of the surface onto which they are going to walk once they leave the aerial lift or work platform. For instance, is the structure strong enough to bear the weight of a worker? Are there obstacles that pose trip hazards? Take steps to remove risk factors. for instance, remove all littered debris so that workers do not trip over it. Contact working at height experts for guidelines about additional ways to ensure that surfaces are safe for workers to walk onto once they are out of a work platform.
Suppliers of work platforms have been in the industry for long. Take advantage of their extensive experience by asking for help in designing safety guidelines to avoid accidents when workers walk off or onto work platforms at height.