A mobile elevating work platform is a safety device which is used to reach a high-level workplace. To be able to operate a mobile elevating work platform, you need to have been trained appropriately and require a special approval. To use the equipment properly, you must observe the operating instructions accordingly. These also include information on fall hazards.
Mobile elevating work platforms give you a sense of security - and rightly so. However, a dangerous situation may quickly arise, if the equipment is used incorrectly - or where external influences come into play. Precautions must be taken to reduce or eliminate the risks.
Whether it is necessary to take extra measures to prevent falls is a question which is frequently asked. There are basically two factors that can provide an answer to this question.
In their operating instructions, the manufacturers of mobile elevating work platforms specify how to use the equipment safely. Therefore, if these refer to the usage of PPE equipment, this definitely needs to be used.
If, however, the instructions do not indicate the need to use PPE, the decision must be made based on a respective risk assessment. In this case, it is vital to bear in mind that the top bars of the work platform cage are not generally intended to serve as an anchorage option, i.e. if there is no suitable point to hook up to, securing individuals using PPE equipment in this particular cage is simply not possible.
Particular attention must be paid to the following points - with a special focus on the risk of falling - when a risk assessment is carried out:
If the risk assessment prescribes the use of PPE equipment although the manufacturer does not provide a means of securing it, this particular mobile elevating work platform is not suitable and must not be used.
There is a range of specially-designed connectors available for usage on mobile elevating work platforms. In addition to the specifications set down in EN 354, further criteria also apply to these connectors. These criteria are defined in DIN 19427. Connectors for use with mobile elevating work platforms are equipped with a special mechanism for automatically adjusting the length. The maximum total length of such connectors, including the lanyard energy absorber and connector elements, is 1.8m.
You can also use a specially-approved self-retracting lifeline. The great advantage of this is that the self-retracting lifeline is equipped with an integrated mechanism which automatically adjusts the length, thus keeping it set as short as possible.
In order to be able to use the connector as an arresting system, the mobile elevating work platform must be equipped with an appropriate anchorage point. This anchor must be at least 35cm below the top bar. In addition, special care must be taken when working on a mobile elevating work platform to ensure that the connector element connected to the anchorage point can move freely and is not subject to transverse strain or edge stress in the event of a fall. To prevent being hurled from the platform, the connector should always be adjusted to the shortest possible distance between the anchorage point and the anchorage eyelet on your safety harness.