The safety aspects and efficiency of aerial work platforms are being widely recognised across industry sectors
David King, group managing director, Manlift, talks about how the company drives product, process and skill development to improve safety and operator competencies
Irrespective of whether a company buys or rents aerial work platforms (AWPs), they need to focus on operator competency. For every AWP, there can be six operators assigned to operate the equipment during its rental period. Operator competency is required not only for safe use and operation of equipment but also to determine the risks associated with workplace environments and their impact on the equipment and find ways to minimise such risks.
With increase in the applications of AWPs, the safety aspects and efficiency of AWPs over alternative working at height solutions are being widely recognised across industry sectors. With regard to safety procedures, operators tend to be unaware about performing site-specific risk assessments for AWPs. Generally, they don’t have sufficient understanding about suitable ground surface conditions, selecting the correct type of fall protection for different AWP models and then how to use the adopted fall protection solutions, overhead hazards during operation of AWPs, using emergency lowering systems, critical differences between operation of different models, and AWP operator responsibilities in relation to pre-use inspections.
Safety is both a guiding principle and a core value at Manlift. We promote and deliver accredited operator training via instructors recognised by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF). We also increase safety awareness in the Middle East by supporting other recognised organisations such as IIRSM, QCC, DAC, DM, and OSHAD.
Manlift organises training programmes such as ‘Mobile Elevating Work Platforms for Managers (AWPs 4 Managers)’, which is a one-day session for AWP managers, safety managers, project managers and government testing bodies. The programme helps create awareness about the best practices for managing AWPs, including equipment selection, safe use, basic structural and safety features, hazard awareness, and maintenance and legal requirements.
To stay ahead of the technology curve, we have adopted virtual reality (VR) to teach operators how to use booms or scissors safely as part of a wider mix of tools, technologies and testing standards that help to address safety concerns in realistic construction environments.
Electric models on larger AWPs are now becoming more prevalent. Rough terrain AWPs (4x4) are now more available in electric and ‘bi-energy’ options with no trade-off in their performance characteristics.
Manlift introduces AWP models based on what customers need to get their jobs done. We provide customised solutions such as power supply in AWPs with the installation of battery charge stations and a system to replace batteries quickly, as well as secondary guarding devices and safety bumper guards to increase safety, minimise work-related injuries and protect walls and equipment throughout the facility.
Recently, we converted three of our most popular telescopic booms from diesel to electric power: the 26m JLG 800AJ articulated boom, 28m JLG 860SJ and 38m JLG 1200SJP telescopic boom are now available in battery powered versions that produce zero emissions and have noise levels below 70 Dba, making them suitable for indoor use with no restrictions.
A larger number of AWP models are being fitted with impressive chassis levelling features that do not necessarily need to be fitted with outriggers or stabilizers to work safely and efficiently on uneven ground surfaces. The machine/operator interface and controls are improving to provide more ease of use. Furthermore, remote assistance for operators and remote diagnostics are gaining momentum with tools such as augmented reality. We offer value added services such as the ‘track and trace’ technology, which helps our customers monitor their equipment and operators remotely.
To ensure machine optimisation, Manlift has a fleet renewal programme that maintains the average age of equipment below five years and a team of specialists trained to detect any fault in the equipment. We also provide a rental app which enables customers to place orders instantly and efficiently. We extend the quality control process to our contractors and suppliers by using a scorecard system to ensure that they add value and maintain the quality of the equipment provided to our customers.
At the core of all these activities is our operating process called ‘The Manlift Way’, and its purpose is to ensure the best customer experience by offering value in every step of the rental and sales cycles. The Manlift Way encompasses all our key performance indicators such as availability, on-time delivery, no breakdowns in the first three days of rent, invoice accuracy, and safe reliable equipment delivered on-time.