44565526_267476704109572_1050163626071031808_n

4 Mistakes Companies Make When Renting Aerial Equipment

Modern aerial work platforms allow technicians to have an easier access to hard-to-reach areas on various buildings. The equipment capacity can be maximized if the managers take the time to learn about common mistakes. Avoiding them can extend the life of the machines while optimizing the work process. Mistakes made when renting aerial equipment may turn out to be costly for both parties. Such problems can be avoided by preventing them.

  1. Ignoring Hazards

Many managers forget to learn about the potential hazards associated with aerial work equipment. Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advises that these hazards include falls, falling objects, collapses, electrocution, contacting moving objects, contacting overhead objects. In many cases, two or more of these hazards are present. Ignoring them can lead to lethal consequences and damage to the equipment.

  1. Lack Of Training

A simple way to avoid the above hazards is to provide proper training to the technicians before they start working with aerial platforms. Unfortunately, some companies believe that the technicians already know the safety rules. OSHA recommends arranging training and re-training sessions for workers on a regular basis. Different aerial equipment may have different hazards. If technicians know how to work with a boom lift, it doesn’t mean they can deal with truck mounted platforms just as easily.

  1. Overlooking Functional Requirements

Not all aerial equipment is created equal. Choosing the right machine for the job involves understanding its functional requirements as well as the needs of a certain project. Managers often make a mistake of thinking that one aerial equipment can deal with numerous tasks. However, one project may require two or more different machines. It’s highly important to understand the height requirements of a project. One of the most common reasons for falls is workers reaching out from the platform to get to a high spot. Renting a piece of aerial equipment, which is longer than you need, is a hazard as well. Lowering the lift too much may result in an imbalance issue and tip-overs.

  1. Failing To Get A Consultation

Companies, which rent the aerial equipment, are always ready to provide an extensive consultation on the type of machines you may need for your project. Even if you believe that you know which equipment is right for you, don’t avoid a consultation. You are likely to learn something important.

23641_600

4 Types Of Fall Protection Systems

When it comes working at heights, even the best height-access equipment can’t keep workers from using other safety systems. federal OSHA and state regulations dictate certain safety options to protect workers against falls. Occupations, which involve working at heights, are among the most dangerous in the world. That’s why many steps are taken to ensure fall protection.

In different industries, such as construction, façade repair, painting or window cleaning, the employer has to prevent accidents by providing a safe work environment. Part of this environment is the fall protection equipment and training. It’s important to be aware of the fall protection laws in your state in order to provide workers with an adequate training course.

There are several categories of fall protection according to OSHA.

  1. Fall Arrest System

Fall arrest systems are needed when the fall hazard is present. OSHA’s definition of a fall hazard is usually a possibility of drop from the height of four feet or more from a working surface to a lower level. The fall arrest equipment is an anchor point, body harness, and a connector.

  1. Positioning

The positioning system lets the worker sit in the harness without holding on with one or two hands. Meaning, both hands are free to work. This system is used together with the fall arrest system since it can’t prevent a fall on its own.

  1. Retrieval

A retrieval or rescue plan is an integral part of any fall protection plan. The plan features actions, which need to be taken after a worker has fallen. OSHA doesn’t give exact instruction on how to draft such a plan, but it must be present.

  1. Suspension

Suspension equipment can lower and support the worker while the hands are free for work. The system is usually employed by window cleaners and façade painters. The suspension system must be used together with a fall arrest system.

Following OSHA requirements can keep the workers safe at different heights. In the majority of cases, deaths and injuries due to falls happen because of improper planning, damaged equipment or failing to follow regulations. It is up to the employer to ensure the 100% safety of the worker.

OSHA has more safety regulations for work at different heights. Each construction, window cleaning, and façade repair company has to follow the regulations and, if possible, suggestions.

cf96c6c9683b51a37254b3749ee3c12d_XL

The Basics Of Health And Safety For Working At Heights

Providing equipment for height access is a task, which makes the company responsible for the quality of the machines and the training of the operator. Working at heights requires the knowledge of health and safety basics, which are vital to completing the project on time and keeping all the parties involved happy and safe.

At Alpha Platforms, we would like to share these basics with anyone, who is planning height access manipulations in the nearest future.

Sharing The Responsibility

Who is responsible for the safety on the site? The renting party, the hirer and the user are. Both are responsible for ensuring the proper equipment is used and operated according to the instructions. Good planning coupled with proper operator’s training can ensure efficiency, increase productivity, and minimize risk.

Planning And Organizing

All operations at heights require proper supervision. The supervisor has to check that the job was properly discussed with the operators and other workers to make sure everyone is aware of the risks as well as the work plan.

In order to choose the right equipment for the job, all the risks have to be discussed in advance. Risk assessment, method statement, and an emergency rescue plan must be in place.

Training

All height-access equipment operators must be adequately trained. Proper training doesn’t just reduce the chances of accidents, it can enhance awareness and save money. If you are renting height-access equipment, the company is responsible for providing a trained operator. It’s your responsibility to check the credentials.

Even the most experienced equipment operator needs some time to familiarize himself with the new equipment.

Risk Assessment

A full risk assessment must be done before starting the work at heights. It’s important to discuss such things as ground condition, weather conditions (wind speed), operator training and safety, and equipment maintenance. It’s integral to maintain a distance when working with power lines since they often become a cause for accidents and deaths.

Emergency Assistance

It’s important to have a plan for emergency rescue situations when people are working at heights. A quick reaction to someone, who is in trouble when high up, can make a difference between life and death as well as sustained injuries.

A rescue plan must be worked out carefully so, in case of an emergency, it could be carried out quickly and safely.

A – 852-ah-9250-sd-scissor-lift

Choosing The Right Height-Access Equipment: Part 2

We continue looking at different types of height-access equipment in order to help you make the right decision.

  1. Boom Lifts

Boom lifts are more versatile than all the above types because they allow vertical and horizontal movement. They come in telescopic and articulated varieties. These lifts are perfect for reaching over obstacles and bringing the workers to hard-to-reach spots at various sites.

Boom lifts provide excellent maneuverability. So if your project involves maneuvering around objects, they are a good choice. They reach up to 130 feet. For comparison, the majority of scissor lifts have a maximum reach of 50 feet.

The downsides of using boom lifts include small platforms, which can hold only a few workers, and high costs.

Choosing The Right Equipment

When choosing the best equipment for your project, you need to consider the following parameters:

  • The height of the job– big heights narrow down your choice substantially.
  • How much equipment you need– not all methods allow bringing heavy equipment.
  • What type of ground you will work on– the evenness of the terrain can be a deciding factor in the choice of equipment.
  • Are there any obstacles– if you need to maneuver around and over obstacles, you can easily choose the right equipment.
  • The available space– your choice depends on how much space you can use for the equipment
  • Required training– some equipment requires special training in order to be operated properly. Meanwhile, workers should have special training for working at heights in order to take advantage of some of the equipment.

While you are considering all of the above factors, you need to think about quality and safety. Outdated and malfunctioning equipment can result in traumas and deaths.

Another factor to consider is the budget. Purchasing height-access equipment is often a costly endeavor, which many businesses can’t handle. In order to cut costs, you may want to consider height-access equipment rental. At Alpha Platforms, we have a variety of equipment for numerous purposes. Our experts are always ready to offer extensive consultations on which equipment suits your project the best.

A – 04-ah-12-eb-articulating-boom-access-platform

Choosing The Right Height-Access Equipment: Part 1

When you are planning to undertake a project, no matter how small it seems, you need to assess the risks. The next step is to choose the right height-access equipment to help get the job done right.

By choosing the best equipment for the task, you aren’t just ensuring the speed and accuracy, you are keeping the workers safe.

Common Types of Height-Access Equipment

There are several common types of height-access equipment that many companies and project managers consider.

 

  1. Ladder

A ladder is a simple tool, which doesn’t need a substantial investment. However, it works only for a limited number of projects and scenarios:

  • You don’t need to reach excessive heights.
  • Your task takes less than 30 – 40 minutes.
  • You can ensure three points of contact at all times.
  • You don’t need to take heavy tools and equipment with you.

Ladders are moderately priced, easy to transport, and can help reach some tough spots. However, in the safety rating of height-access equipment, they claim one of the lowest positions.

  1. Scaffolding

Scaffolding is easy to set up and secure. It allows vertical access to many objects. For big jobs, it’s still one of the most used solutions in the world. Cleaning, painting, and façade repairing is simplified by using scaffolding.

However, this height access equipment is expensive and bulky. You need to plan for transportation and storage, which isn’t always convenient. The scaffolding’s steel frame is heavy and prone to rust. While lighter aluminum frames are available, they can’t go up as high as steel scaffolding.

Another option is scaffold towers. These towers are movable and freestanding. They can reach over 12 meters high. The workers’ safety on these towers may be compromised if they are incorrectly installed near the power lines.

  1. Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts are a more expensive piece of height-access equipment. Yet they are designed to deal with reaching tough spots while ensuring the safety of the worker. They allow lifting heavy equipment to big heights while letting the worker feel comfortable on the platform.

Depending on the size of your project, you can choose a spider lift with a large platform to lift several workers. Scissor lifts can work at heights over 18 meters. They come in a variety of widths, allowing you to work in narrow spaces.

To be continued in the next post.

window-cleaning-company-for-sale-grand-rapids-michigan-1024×646

BMUs vs. Rope Descent System

When it comes to working at substantial heights, each company faces numerous options. The variety of equipment available to get the job done is impressive. The major factors that affect the choice are budget and safety.

Building maintenance units are among the safest and most convenient pieces of equipment for climbing high buildings. Rope descent systems have been around for centuries. Which one is better? Let’s find out.

  1. Price

Installing and maintaining a BMU is costly. Especially, if the building has some non-standard construction nuances. It requires long planning, large investments, regular maintenance, and much more.

Meanwhile, the rope descent system is the cheapest way to get the job done. All you need as an anchorage point for the system to work, regardless of the object’s height.

BMU’s average lifespan is about 25 years. The anchorage spot for the rope may need to be replaced once in a while but it generally stays in place for as long as the building is intact. The rope system itself is not costly either.

  1. Safety

When it comes to safety, both systems do a good job of protecting the worker. BMUs are designed to keep the worker safe at all times. The key to the worker’s safety on the BMU is the right equipment. Each building has its own tough-to-reach spots and requires different types of BMUs. If the BMU is chosen correctly, the worker will be safe.

Rope descent systems are also safe as long as the workers are properly trained to use them. Both systems require certain training before the operation.

  1. Convenience

When it comes to convenience, BMU is the big winner. It’s always available and doesn’t require any additional installations. It’s already tuned to reach all the hard-to-reach places. Any worker can take advantage of the BMU at any time of the day. Rope descent systems require additional installation every time they need to be used.

  1. Speed

BMU scores another point here. Using the rope to clean windows or paint the facades requires plenty of skills. Meanwhile, the speed of work is decreased substantially. When it comes to large window cleaning jobs or façade repairs, BMU takes the prize.

Overall, BMU is a better choice for all types of high-rise jobs. However, it’s costly and takes a long time to install. The choice between the two usually comes down to the size of the company’s budget.

industrial climbers clean windows of high-rise buildings

Preventing Top 4 Risks Of Working At Heights

The 21stcentury has brought high-quality equipment for all types of work, which needs to be performed at heights. However, numerous risks still exist. No matter which machines your company hires for its purposes, it’s important to give employees proper training.

It’s possible to avoid numerous risks just by being prepared. Let’s discuss the top 4 dangers of working at heights and ways to prevent them.

  1. Trips And Falls

Window washers, painters, and construction workers are often exposed to the conditions of uneven terrain, unused materials, and buildings at different stages of construction completion. If the worker is distracted, all of the above can cause serious injuries.

The leading cause of trips and falls at all high-rise objects is the lack of fall protection. Employers and managers must provide all workers with proper fall protection systems. Even the best equipment with high guardrails can’t protect a worker from falling. Personal fall arrest systems are a “must have” for all employees.

  1. Electrocutions

Working at construction sites often exposes people to unprotected wiring, power lines, and damaged electrical systems. Even though the chance of being electrocuted is small due to proper markings, the lack of attention may lead to fatal outcomes.

The simple way to protect a worker is to hand out hard hats. Head protection can save the worker from flying objects as well as from accidently touching the unprotected wiring. Hard hats must be inspected before each use and replaced immediately if damaged.

  1. Falling And Flying Objects

Many injuries occur due to falling tools or construction materials. All workers must be equipped with hard hats and personal fall arrest systems in order to keep the damage to a minimum. Some teams use a safety monitoring system, which involves a person identifying the hazards and warning the team members of potentially dangerous spots.

Each construction site should have a protection plan where all the hazardous zones are marked. It will restrict access to the places, where only specially trained people should be working.

  1. Getting Trapped

When working on a construction site, employees are at a danger of being caught between dangerous objects. It could be construction materials and equipment, machinery, collapsing beams, and more.

The only way to prevent this danger is to check all the servicing equipment and familiarize the workers with possible hazards of the site. Workers should learn to keep their focus at all times since the lack of attention can lead to injuries.

rent-scissor-lifts

4 Reasons Why You Should Rent A Scissor Lift

Before renting a scissor lift, you need to learn a few things to make sure you are getting the right equipment. Hiring the wrong machine for the job leads to accidents and fatal outcomes. Scissor lifts come in three types: hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical. Choosing one type or another depends on your project. It’s important to get professional assistance when deciding between the lifts.
The first thing to understand about a scissor lift is that it’s one of the best ways to ensure safety when working at heights. Ladders and scaffolding may be the right choice for some projects, but the risks of using scissor lifts are substantially lower. Meanwhile, working on a ladder slows down any project. Using a lift can lead to faster and more efficient results.
1. Large Platforms
Scissor lifts have large platforms, which make working at heights more comfortable. They can fit several workers along with all the necessary equipment. Meanwhile, the workers can reach larger areas while the lift is in one position. Accordingly, you can save time on moving the machine around. Since scissor lifts come in different sizes, make sure your worksite can accommodate the lift you’ve chosen.
Platforms can accommodate up to four workers. They can reach from 6 to 60 feet high. Pay attention to the lift capacity. You may need two or three to get a big project done.
2. Four-Wheel Drive
Scissor lifts with the four-wheel drive are an excellent choice for tough terrain at the construction sites. You don’t have to worry about the machine making its way through gravel and mud. A four-wheel drive scissor lift is an excellent choice for a majority of projects. Not all companies offer four-wheel drive scissor lifts so you need to check in advance.
3. Electric Battery
Scissor lifts can be used both indoors and outdoors. When choosing a machine for indoor use, consider one with an electric battery. As opposed to fuel-powered equipment, this one won’t have you dealing with exhaust indoors. Scissor lifts come in many sizes. Some of them are specifically designed for indoor use.
4. Safety
Scissor lifts are much safer than ladders. They fall into the category of aerial lifts, which ensure the safety of the workers. The platform and a basket prevent falling accidents and help workers keep their balance.
25188773_366800367126352_7845739552570260915_o

How To Stay Safe While Using Boom Lifts

Choosing the best boom lift for your project is not the only thing to consider before the work starts. Even the most experienced boom lift operators can’t keep the workers safe when they are doing their job at heights.
While such experts as window cleaners and painters get special training for working on high-rise buildings, not many of them realize that exploiting a boom lift requires extra caution.
There are two common types of boom lifts used today: telescopic and articulating. Both of them have similar working principles. The former can extend it’s “arm” up to 120 feet at virtually all angles. The latter has several sections, which help with getting to hard-to-reach places.
No matter which type of boom lift you choose, each type is considered heavy equipment, which requires special attention and intensified safety measures.
Common Safety Issues While Using Boom Lifts
The most common boom lift-related safety issues have to do with electrocution, falls, and overturned equipment. The reasons range from choosing the wrong equipment for the job to lack of experience and/or attention.
11 Tips To Keep You Safe On A Boom Lift
1. If you see that the boom lift seems to be malfunctioning or slightly damaged, avoid using it and let the operator know about your suspicions.
2. Don’t avoid wearing the necessary protective gear, such as hard hats, steel-toe boots, safety glasses, and gloves.
3. Always ask the operator to test the aerial lift before starting the operation. Make sure it’s in a working condition.
4. While working on the boom lift, make sure your feet are always firmly planted on the platform. Keep your balance at all times.
5. When the boom lift is raising or lowering the platform, be extra careful. Make sure you can take hold of the railing.
6. Consider refusing to use a boom lift when the weather conditions are unfavorable, such as strong winds and heavy rains.
7. Don’t use the boom lift as a lifting device. Never use any heavy machinery for the purposes it’s not designed for.
8. Don’t take ladders, scaffolding, chairs or any other tools to help you gain extra height when on a boom lift platform.
9. Don’t try to sit on the edge of an elevated platform.
10. Always pay attention to the area around you. The path of travel is not always safe due to obstacles, debris, holes, etc. Pay close attention to overhead hazards.
11. Be extra careful about watching the power lines.
22688824_130332297627043_1928459770785320498_n

5 Safety Tips For High-Rise Building Workers

High-rise buildings require just as much, if not more, maintenance as 2-story residential houses. Window washing, inspections, repairs, and banner replacement call for special training and equipment. Meanwhile, safety is the most important part of any work with high-rise buildings.

Working at height is risky. No matter how well you choose your gear, a small mistake can lead to unfortunate consequences. These safety tips can help you avoid accidents.

  1. Ask For Advice

No matter how experienced you are, there are always other people, who know better. This is especially true for equipment operators. If you are using a truck-mounted access platform or a BMU, operating takes experience. Ask the operators for advice and closely collaborate with them in order to avoid mistakes.

  1. Always Have A Plan

Whether you are working with one partner or a team, you have to study the emergency plan closely. Know exactly what needs to be done in case of an accident and/or equipment malfunctioning. If something seems wrong, stop. Botched deadlines aren’t worth your life.

  1. Bring A Friend

Working on high-rise buildings should never be done without a partner. When at least two people are working together, the risks of an accident are decreased. Even if you have impressive experience working with ladders and safety equipment, doing it alone is irresponsible. Even the most experienced workers may suffer from dizziness when working at height.

  1. Study The Safety Guidelines

Safety guidelines for working at height change on a regular basis. If you haven’t gone over them in more than a year, it’s time to do it.

  1. Select The Right Equipment

Each project requires an individual approach. The variety of equipment to work with is numerous as well. In some cases, scaffolding can be too expensive and useless compared to the rope descent system. In other cases, it can be the only suitable option.

BMUs, access platforms, aerial lifts, etc. provide extra safety but come with a higher price tag. Match the situation to the right equipment for improving results and reducing the risks.