When working at height, it is absolutely vital to keep your tools and materials secure and under control. Whether you’re on a worksite, in a built-up area or even out in the country, items dropped from elevating work platforms can pose a danger to anyone and anything below. Before you make arrangements for your access equipment hire, give some thought to keeping tools and materials secure while working at height.
Plan Ahead: Risk Assessments
The most important tool in preventing falling objects is the human mind. You need to think ahead and anticipate risks. In fact, depending on your job and your industry, you may be required to fill out a risk assessment—a great tool for pinpointing areas of concern and figuring out the safest way to get the job done. Even if you’re not required to, you might consider doing one informally. Although risk assessment methods and templates vary, they boil down to this:
- Make a list of hazards.
- For each, determine who or what would be harmed, and how.
- Estimate the likelihood of each event.
- Make a list of how each risk is already being mitigated.
- Come up with strategies to further reduce each risk.
Specific Tips for Preventing Falling Objects
Work safe Australia’s Falling Objects Fact Sheet offers advice on preventing accidents. It highlights three danger points in the access equipment workflow: loading up the work platform or lift, moving the platform and working at height. There are also some safety measures that need to be put into place in advance, for example, protecting the area below the access equipment, creating covered walkways, and erecting platforms or nets below the work platform.
If materials or tools are to be raised on the work platform, they need to be within the load limit, and they should be secured. Netting, shrink wrap and restraining bars may be necessary to keep items in place and in balance. While personnel, tools and materials are being moved, it is important to consider factors like wind speed and ground conditions and provide outriggers and stabilisers, where needed. When working at height, tether tools and materials whenever possible and keep objects behind secure physical barriers when they aren’t in hand. Never place anything on an exposed railing or sill.
Whether you’re interested in scissor lift hire, or a travel tower or boom lift would be more suitable for the job at hand, you may need to think about the size of the platform and strategies for keeping work secure before choosing your access equipment. We’ve provided information on work platform size on our specification tables so you can make a quick comparison between models. However, if you need more detailed information on a particular piece of equipment, we almost certainly have a pdf posted, either linked to the spec table or on the description page. We do our best to make it easy for our clients to plan ahead and stay safe.