Ensuring Safety While Working on Aerial Work Platforms


Whether you are an operator for aerial work platforms, a supervisor or the business owner, practising safety measures stands to benefit everyone and from every aspect. A single accident, irrespective of whose fault it was, can end lives, stop work and cost a lot of money. However, in the field, it all comes down to the operator who is in charge of the aerial work platform to conduct a safe and secure operation. Therefore, to help prevent any accidents from happening in the first place, here are a few tips for the operators which should prove to be quite useful.

Get to Know the Company’s Safety Protocols

Take the time needed to go through and properly understand all the safety protocols put into place by the company to ensure safe machine operation while conducting aerial work. Talk to the organisation’s safety and health officials if you need to, and get yourself properly aligned with all the legal and safety requirements before beginning to operate in the field.

Get Your IPAF Training

IPAF stands for International Powered Access Federation, which is one of the premier organisations that offers a multitude of training courses devised specifically to educate operators, demonstrators and the instructors themselves about boosting efficiency and improving safety, while working with aerial work platforms. Go to findcourses.co.uk and find the training course which would be the most appropriate for the kind of machines you handle. In addition to making you and the work environment around you safer, the IPAF certification is also a great way to improve your chances of landing the best paid operator jobs in the UK and even abroad.

Regular Prework Risk Assessments are Always Necessary

When you are operating a humongous machine that will be used to complete really dangerous work at high altitudes, it is important to assess the possible risks before you even begin. First and foremost, if you need to move the mobile platform from one site to another, be aware of powerlines overhead, uneven and slippery roads, the slope of the route you will be taking and anything else that might be a cause for concern along the way. Even when you get to the site, do another risk assessment to note any and all possible factors that can potentially endanger your operation.

Never Neglect the Harness When You are Going Up

The harness will save your life in case of an unexpected jolt at the machine’s base, which will at least make you lose your balance and at worst, throw you off the high platform in a violent jerk. It is still possible to get injured while wearing the proper safety harnesses, but in most cases, the injury will be minor and it will almost certainly save your life. It is a legal requirement to wear them while operating on aerial platforms, so if someone ignores it, in spite of being provided with the required protective gear, there won’t be any grounds to sue the company either for compensation later.


Carry Your Smartphone with You

The smartphone is blamed for a lot of things and carrying one while at work is probably the last thing an outsider would think of, but the operator should know better. Scissor lifts, elevated booms and every other type of elevated work platforms out there are susceptible to malfunctioning, because so is pretty much every other piece of machinery on the planet! If such an unfortunate but unlikely incident does occur, and you are unable to make the lift come down from its elevated position, just call your co-workers up for help. Never try to climb off an elevated platform, because people have tried that before and failed with tragic results. Your company may also provide you with two-way radios for communicating with others at the site, so carry that too.

Elevated Platforms Can Trip Easily

Keep in mind that an elevated platform is always at risk of tipping over, so keep the following points in mind to prevent that from happening:

  • Keep your weight away from the guardrails; do not lean or sit on them
  • Before going up or down, make sure that everything you are carrying on the platform is well balanced
  • Clean the platform of debris before going up or coming down
  • Carry as less of a load with you as possible, while going up or down

The good news is that, according to this report published by the EHS in 2016, proper safety measures, better safety equipment and adequate training have managed to stop fatalities while working on mobile elevated work platforms from increasing, even though the workload in this industry has increased significantly. What this means is that as long as you are trained, alert and aware, your job as an aerial work platform operator is now a lot safer than it used to be.