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The construction industry is one of the most dangerous in which to work with many very hazardous tasks that have to be carried out, many involving working in confined spaces and with quite dangerous chemicals and equipment. Read more to know about why construction safety is essentials at construction sites on mobile working platforms.
The biggest risk to the workforce however remains working at height and mobile platforms are considered to be more dangerous than scaffolding towers; sometimes, though, nothing else will do.
IPAF courses help to make things safer
IPAF (International Powered Access Federation) has designed a number of courses to cover training on various different kinds of equipment and so it is not hard to make sure that staff is well trained in the types of MEWP (Mobile Elevating Working Platform) in use on the construction project at hand.
However, many employers decide, very sensibly, to train their staff more generally, so they can use any equipment they may be called upon to employ in their work.
It also helps to have staff very widely trained because it is sometimes the case that another person, not necessarily using a piece of equipment regularly themselves, nonetheless might spot a defect or incorrect usage of a mobile platform. In the same way that many hands make light work, many eyes make a safer working environment for everyone.
Mobile platforms are increasingly popular
In a construction context as in so many other areas of business, time is money and time spent erecting, dismantling, moving, re-erecting a scaffolding tower repeatedly can be very expensive, as well as not very good for the structure of the tower, which comes under various stresses every time it is moved and reused.
A mobile platform can be moved into place within minutes and can be adjusted, once in place, to whatever height is required. The only minor downside is that a mobile platform is often smaller than a scaffolding system that can be built if necessary to enclose an entire building.
It also often has a smaller working load, but because it is very easy to descend and bring up more working materials instead of having to have them all to hand, this is not a very important consideration. In general, the less climbing up and down that is done, the safer the general working day will be.
Specific training for specific situations
Some mobile platforms are used in some quite unusual situations where an alternative would be difficult to find, such as inside really tall buildings such as warehouses and hangars.
As soon as you start using mobile platforms under a roof or overhanging obstructions (such as shelving, mezzanine floors or staircases) it is essential that the operator is well trained in the use of the controls because severe crush injuries have occurred because the platform’s rise was not stopped in time.
Mobile platforms also carry the risk of toppling and this can have far worse consequences indoors – outdoors the fall is likely to be serious but there is a chance that the platform at the top will fall onto open ground and with correct harnessing the workers on it may escape relatively lightly.
Indoors, however, the fall is unlikely to be unimpeded and collision with a wall or structure within the building is much more likely to be fatal or the cause of life-changing injuries.
More challenging training
PASMA also offers some enhanced training options, such as the PAL+ license. To pass this training course, the applicant must already have the PAL (Powered Access License) and to be able to show a good understanding of the equipment in use.
This enhanced training is usually for those working in particularly difficult circumstances, but many with the PAL decide to go for the PAL+ because it offers a chance to become a real expert in the field and prove that your knowledge of all aspects of using powered platforms is really sound.
Training at a different level is always a good plan if it can be sourced because a challenge to a worker keeps their interest whetted and stops complacency, lax behavior, and accidents.