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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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5 Benefits Of Truck Mounted Access Platforms

When choosing equipment for working with heights, a small mistake can lead to delays and safety hazards. While the quality of such equipment should be top-notch, the type of the machine is just as important.

Whether you are planning repairing, cleaning or maintenance jobs, we suggest considering truck-mounted access platforms. They have numerous advantages over ladders and ropes regardless of the project’s complexity. These access platforms are suitable for both commercial and residential projects.

  1. Impressive Durability

Access platforms are very durable. When you are standing on a ladder or hanging from a rope, you feel a little shaky regardless of your experience with heights. Meanwhile, being a little unsure of your footing can reduce the speed of your work. Using a sturdy platform can help you get the job done faster while enjoying a peace of mind.

  1. Using Both Hands

Whenever you are working with ladders or rope descent systems, you need one hand to guide and steady yourself. This reduces the quality and speed of your work. You are also limited when it comes to taking the necessary tools with you. Truck mounted access platforms allow you to use both hands and take advantage of as many accessories as you can bring.

  1. Taking On Tough Projects

When you are working in uncomfortable conditions, such as balancing on a ladder or hanging from a rope, you tire much faster. By climbing a truck-mounted access platform, you are allowing yourself to work in a safe and comfortable environment. This improves the quality of your work and allows you to work longer. You can change the position you are working in and avoid cramps.

  1. Feeling Safe

Working at heights involves following a variety of strict rules. Any project you take on at a height is risky. It can result in falls, injuries, and even death. Any job you need to do at a height bigger than one story is safer with a truck mounted access platform. Besides, when you hire such a platform, you can take advantage of advice from an experienced operator.

  1. Closer Access

Truck-mounted access platforms allow you to get close access to hard-to-reach spaces. They work in the areas where rope descent systems just aren’t effective, and ladders are out of the question.

Taking advantage of access platforms can improve the quality of your work, reduce risks, and help you meet deadlines.

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Important Information About Boom Lifts: Which One Would You Choose?

Boom lifts are common pieces of equipment that can make your work at heights simpler. The large boom arm with an extendable basket helps you reach the places you wouldn’t be able to touch with other equipment. At the same time, boom lifts are very safe (if used right of course), but you would need a professional boom lift operator to get the job done.
The main advantage of the boom lifts is their versatility. While other lifting equipment, such as scissor lifts may serve a certain purpose, these aerial lifts are suitable for a variety of jobs. What can you use boom lifts for?
• Tall tree fruit picking and branch cutting
• Painting, window washing, façade maintenance
• Powerline repair
• Billboard replacement, installation
• Construction projects
The operator has full control of the equipment. The lift can be moved forward and backward while adjusting the arm’s height. The basket’s position can also be changed.
A boom lift is a reliable machine. It has stabilizer legs and safety controls that prevent the equipment from tipping over even if the operator makes a mistake. Such lifts come in several sizes. Smaller equipment can be used to work in hard-to-reach places.
What Type Of Boom Lift Do You Need?
There are two types of aerial lifts, telescoping and articulating.
1. Articulating Boom Lift
This is an aerial platform with several boom sections that move (or articulate) to help you access hard-to-reach areas or avoid obstacles.
• If you need to work in a confined area, articulating boom lift is a great choice. They come in small models that can move around in tight spaces.
• If you have to surpass obstacles (i.e. reach up an over something), the articulating models can do the job quickly and effortless.
• If you need to work indoors, you can opt for an articulating boom lift with non-marking tires.
• If you have to move over a rough terrain, these lifts come in rough-terrain models.
2. Telescopic Boom Lift
The boom section of this aerial platform extends telescopically. They provide excellent horizontal reaching options. Telescopic boom lifts are great for spaces with limited access. Why would you choose a telescopic boom lift over an articulating boom lift?
• You need to reach very far at a big height
• You need to work on a very rough terrain with obstacles
• You need to work fast (these lifts can get into a working position quickly).
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Painting At Heights: What You Need To Know

New York companies often face a problem with painting at heights. Most building owners believe that they can deal with the task without renting special equipment. The approach to working at heights should be well thought out and reviewed many times. The number of deaths and injuries associated with painting or washing skyscrapers is downright scary. Here are a few important things you need to know about painting at height.

  1. Working Out A Safe Approach

Most painting companies have a worked out approach to working at heights. Meanwhile, companies that don’t specialize in working with high buildings may overlook the matter. Each company or team must evaluated each object, identify the hazards, and work out a safe approach.

  1. Renting/Buying The Right Equipment

The right equipment is a key to staying safe and doing the job better and faster. Proper aerial equipment reduces the number of hazards people face when working at heights. While evaluating the object, consider making the equipment list.

Renting machines and lifts in NY is easy. At Alpha Platforms, we have a big choice of equipment for working at heights. Our experts can help you identify which machines you need for the job.

  1. Edge Protection Guidelines

Coming up with edge protection guidelines is vital for preventing people and tools from falling out of the lifting equipment. Many workers get so involved in the working process, they forget about being high up. Each employee must read the information about edge protection and learn how to use scaffolding, stools, podiums, platforms, etc. safely.

  1. Updated Restraint Systems

Even if the equipment you use is absolutely safe, restraint systems are compulsory for any work at heights. Even the best restraint system is useless without proper training. These systems are being perfected on a regular basis, so the company should consider investing in the latest solutions.

  1. Roof Work Safety Guidelines

Working on the roof is one of the most dangerous tasks for many maintenance companies. The lifting equipment can get you up there but it can’t keep you safe. Roof work safety guidelines must include edge protection and fall hazard prevention.

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To Rent Or Not To Rent: That Is The Question

Aerial equipment is expensive. When it comes to renting it for several projects, many companies start thinking about the purchase. It seems as if frequent use will recoup the cost of the unit. However, before making a decision to buy such piece of equipment, it’s vital to know all the ins and outs of the ownership. Here are a few points you may want to consider before saying “no” to renting.
1. Proper Maintenance
As an owner, you’ll be responsible for proper maintenance of your equipment. Repairing and maintaining aerial platforms and lifts can be rather costly. If you rent, the rental company covers these costs.
2. Storage
When not in use, these machines require large spaces for storage. You’d need to rent or buy a storage facility. You’ll also need to find a way to transport the machine from storage to work sites and back. When you rent such equipment, you don’t need to worry about storage and transportation.
3. ANSI Standards
As an owner, you need to think about the way your equipment complies with ANSI standards. This means following the news to learn about the updated requirements and order timely inspections. If you rent the platform or lift, all the compliance issues are the owner’s problem.
4. Lack of Choice
When you invest money in such a piece of equipment, you are “stuck” with it for a long time. What happens if your projects require more than one type of aerial lifts? What happens if you don’t need the machine anymore? You’d need to find a way to sell or put it up for rent.
5. Idle Time
In case your machine breaks down and you need time to fix it, your project could be put on hold. Besides spending money on repairs, you’d be losing more by stalling the project.
6. Depreciation
Over time, all equipment loses value regardless of how well you maintain it. New models appear on the market. Projects require more speed and higher sophistication.  Your equipment may become outdated and you’ll be stuck with a piece of useless machinery, which is impossible to sell.
Owning aerial lifts and platforms has many hidden costs. In most cases, rental is the smartest option.