Welcome to the world of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs). As a leading forklift training company, we understand the importance of operating these machines with proficiency and safety. This comprehensive guide will provide insights into the different types of MEWPs and best practices for their operation.
Types of MEWPs
MEWPs come in a variety of designs, each tailored to specific tasks and environments. Here are the most common types:
1. Scissor Lifts
Scissor lifts are characterized by their criss-crossing metal supports that ‘scissor’ together to raise or lower the platform. These are particularly useful for tasks that require vertical elevation without the need for horizontal reach.
- Typical Uses: Indoor maintenance work, warehouse stocking, construction finishing tasks.
2. Boom Lifts (or Cherry Pickers)
Boom lifts have a hydraulic arm that can extend both vertically and horizontally. The bucket or platform at the end can hold one or more workers.
- Typical Uses: Tree trimming, exterior building maintenance, and tasks that require reaching over obstacles.
3. Vertical Personnel Platforms
These are compact lifts, often used in tight spaces where larger equipment won’t fit. They provide straight vertical lifts.
- Typical Uses: Interior work, stock-taking, and light fixture maintenance.
4. Trailer-Mounted Lifts
These are towable units with booms. They offer flexibility as they can be moved from one site to another with ease.
- Typical Uses: Temporary tasks, events setup, or when working across multiple sites.
5. Truck-Mounted (or Van-Mounted) Lifts
These are mounted on a vehicle, offering mobility and often higher reach capabilities than trailer-mounted lifts.
- Typical Uses: Telecommunication maintenance, streetlight repairs.
Now that we’ve discussed the types, let’s delve into the best practices for operating MEWPs.
Best Practices for Operating MEWPs
1. Adequate Training and Certification
Before operating any MEWP, ensure you have received proper training and certification. It’s not just about handling the machine; understanding potential risks is crucial.
2. Conduct Pre-Operation Inspection
Always inspect the equipment before use. Check for any visible damages, ensure controls are working, and verify safety mechanisms are functional.
3. Use Safety Gear
Always wear the recommended safety gear, including hard hats, harnesses, safety boots, and high-visibility clothing.
4. Be Aware of Surroundings
Stay vigilant about the environment. Be cautious of overhead obstructions, nearby personnel, and ground conditions.
5. Avoid Overloading
Every MEWP has a specified weight limit. Do not exceed this limit, as it can destabilise the machine.
6. Use Outriggers and Stabilizers
For lifts that come with outriggers and stabilisers, ensure they are properly deployed. They provide added stability during operation.
7. Stay within the Platform
Always keep your entire body within the confines of the platform or bucket. Leaning or reaching out can cause the MEWP to tip or become unstable.
8. Monitor Weather Conditions
Wind, rain, and other adverse weather conditions can pose significant risks. It’s vital to cease operations during inclement weather.
9. Emergency Preparedness
Always be prepared for emergencies. Familiarise yourself with the emergency descent procedures and keep a well-stocked first-aid kit on board.
10. Maintenance and Servicing
Regularly service your MEWP to ensure it’s in optimal working condition. This not only enhances safety but also extends the machine’s lifespan.
In conclusion, operating a MEWP requires a blend of skill, knowledge, and vigilance. By understanding the different types and following best practices, operators can execute tasks efficiently and safely. Remember, at the heart of every successful operation is a commitment to safety. Safe operations not only protect the operator but also the surrounding individuals and property. Always prioritise safety and training.