Working in tight spaces is often challenging. With limited room available to perform complex or intricate tasks,simple projects can become much more involved. However, such situations are further complicated when we take height into account. Not only will safety requirements need to be addressed, but employees should be provided with versatile platforms so that projects can be completed within a timely fashion. What are some of the factors which management must proactively address? How can the most appropriate narrow access platforms be selected? Are there any minor details which can have a massive impact upon the project in question? In order to make an informed decision, it is critical to examine each of these questions.
Evaluating the Conditions and the Working Environment
It is first important to examine the working conditions associated with the environment in question. There are several metrics which may apply to this initial phase. These can include (but are often not limited to):
The height that needs to be reached.
The environmental conditions (interior versus exterior)
The underlying surface and the stability provided.
Any nearby hazards such as power lines or construction equipment.
Once the situation has been assessed, it will be much easier to make an informed decision in regards to what type of equipment is suitable as well as the best way to approach the task at hand.
Selecting the Appropriate Access Platforms for Tight Spaces
Narrow access platforms are intended to bridge the gap between flexibility and safety without compromising working heights and overall accessibility. Of course, these units are available in a number of sizes and configurations based upon the needs of the project. For example, relatively low heights can often be addressed through the use of a Push-Around Vertical (PAV) unit due to its diminutive size. Mast booms are likewise more appropriate when negotiating heights above five or six metres, as the lifts can be extended out to great distances. Track-mounted variants are frequently preferred when dealing with extreme heights due to their well-known degree of stability when extended. It may also be necessary to choose an access platform that contains outriggers if the boom will be extended relatively far from its centre of gravity. Management is obliged to carefully evaluate these variables so that the safety of the worker is never placed in jeopardy.
Addressing Potential Power Issues
While this concern may not be as apparent as the safety issues mentioned above, it is just as relevant within a real-world environment. Narrow access platforms can be powered in a number of ways. Many battery-operated units have a limited lifespan before they require an additional charge. The location of nearby mains electricity sources will therefore need to be evaluated beforehand. Charging times will likewise vary. This primarily depends upon the size of the machine and its configuration (for example, track-mounted units may need to be charged for longer amounts of time when compared to smaller self-contained vehicles). Make certain that mains electricity access points are located nearby and that the appropriate extension cords are available. Always refer to the operator's manual for further instructions and to address any associated safety issues.
Safety and Regulatory Concerns
Working within narrow and tight spaces will likew ise need to address all of the appropriate guidelines. While the apparent risk of an accident or injury might not be as clear when compared to dealing with open environments, the dangers are just as real. This is why several measures should be put into place including:
- The correct use of personal protective equipment.
- The two-man rule.
- Properly maintaining the status of the powered access equipment.
- Keeping an agreeable distance from pedestrians and the general public.
If these and other rules are not followed, management may very well be held liable for any injuries or damages that may occur.
Working with Professional Brand Names
It is just as important to work with trusted brand names, as safety and reliability will not be called into question. For instance, scenarios associated with a moderate amount of height could be addressed with the Boss x3x. Those who are required to deal with more challenging heights could instead opt for the Niftylift HR15N due to its considerable reach alongside a width of only 1.5 metres.
For any questions you may have, get in touch with a member of our team today on 01793 953355 to receive a free quotation, or for any assistance you require.