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Cherry picker safety guide

March 20, 2011

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Accidents from mobile elevated work platforms (M.E.W.P.’s) primarily come from:

  • Failure of critical mechanical parts of the M.E.W.P.
  •  Ground conditions unsuitable
  • Serious falls from the Cherry picker
  • Contact with another vehicle

Fall protection systems- (harness, lanyard and shock absorber) can’t be relied upon as the only means of protection because if the M.E.W.P falls over, being attached to it by fall protection system still results in serious injury.

Mechanical failure

This issue can be  addressed by means of inspection before dispatch from the hire company.  On delivery the machine will have an inspection sheet to show it has had items checked over and is in working condition.

For machines that are on long term hire the operative should check the following before use each day:

  • General visual inspection of machine
  • Check all bolts, screws and hoses fit tightly and that there are no oil leaks
  • Check the arms, boon, jib and platform for visible damage or wear
  • Check cylinder rods for leaks, wear and scratches
  • Check wheel-reducing gears for leaks
  • Check wheel nuts and tyre wear
  • Check battery terminals are clean and tight
  • Check fluid levels in battery and top up if necessary
  • Check main control panel power cable is in good condition
  • Check emergency stop works
  • Check air filter is clean
  • Check levels of motor oil, hydraulic oil and diesel level and top up if necessary
  • Check the hydraulic filter-clogging indicator
  • Check the tilt detector is functioning by tilting spirit level- alarm should sound beyond 5 degree angle

Serious falls from the cherry picker

  • Always use a fall protection system attached to the appropriate anchorage point inside the cage
  • Hold the guardrail firmly when operating or driving
  • Remove any traces of oil or grease from the platform steps, guardrails or floor
  • Wear personal protective equipment
  • Never disable safety switches or safety devices
  • Risks of jerky movements are high when:
  • Sudden action on the controls
  • Overloading the platform
  • Do not take stepladders in the cradle to increase working height
  • Never use the guardrails to climb on to increase working height
  • Uneven ground, especially when moving whilst at height
  • Gusts of wind
  • Always close the safety gate to the cradle

Suitable ground conditions

It is advisable to have a banks man to help guide the operator when moving the machine form one worksite to the next.

Operator must asses the risks above him before using the machine

Pay attention to the position of the arms during rotation assent and descent.

Before use always walk the route to survey for obstacles

Never use:

  • On soft unstable ground
  • On ground slopes of 5 degrees and over
  • In winds greater than permissible limit
  • Near power lines
  • In temperatures less than -15 centigrade
  • In poorly ventilated areas
  • During storms (risk of lightning strike)
  • In the dark (unless floodlit)
  • With a load exceeding max load
  • With more than max operatives in cradle

Contact with a vehicle

To limit the risks involved in contact with a vehicle appropriate barriers to separate the work area from all traffic must be put in place. Also to prevent pedestrians from entering the workspace signs must be in place. The operative must be familiar with the machines controls and have been trained to use the M.E.W.P.
To walk the route  and know the risks involved before getting into the M.E.W.P. is a good idea.

Painters in Chelmsford, Essex trained in the use of mobile elevated work platforms- Cherry pickers. To find operators covering other counties visit IPAF’s website.

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