Low-level access equipment has been used from as far back as 1862 when the stepladder was born. As technology moved on and machinery developed, more reliable options became available and, particularly since the introduction of the HSE Work at Height Regulations in 2005, we have seen the move to more safe and reliable options such as powered access platforms, grow year on year.
Traditional methods of working at height have included ladders, steps and aluminium towers. Ladders and steps are a quicker option to reaching the users required height but can be a great safety risk due to instability. They can also be inefficient if you need to reach multiple points, having to constantly dismount to move the equipment. Aluminium towers can pose an even greater efficiency risk and can be quite complex to manage. They need to be built by a trained professional, and if the desired height changes, a rebuild is required taking up more resources and putting a stop to work. It is also quite common to lose parts to an aluminium tower, resulting in additional costs and time delays further down the line.
The HSE recently reported that during 2013 and 2018 26% of fatal injuries were falls from height, and in 2018 35 people lost their lives from working at height accidents. The importance of safety around working at height is becoming more and more prevalent to all companies and workers from all areas in the organisation. We are seeing customer sites become more secure and concerned with working at height safety, meaning they will only accept powered access platforms on site and will only allow trained professionals to operate them.
Push Around Vertical (PAV) platforms such as the Pecolift and Ecolift are manually powered making them a safe and cost-effective option for working at height. The Nano and Power Tower come with the addition of a hydraulically powered lifting mechanism making them a popular choice for those who want the extra help reaching their desired height. They can reach heights of up to 5.10m and have enough room and a safe working load to lift a worker and their tools to height safely, making them particularly popular for dry lining and spot installation work such as air conditioning, fans, and lighting fixtures.
Mast booms such as the Skyjack SJ16 can reach heights of up to 8.02m, carry loads of up to 227kg and are popular where a transversing platform is required to access harder to reach spots, or where the user requires an electric platform. They can also be driven at full height, saving valuable time moving from task to task.
The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) put together several courses, including the 3a course (covering scissor lifts) and a dedicated PAV course for those just intending to use a PAV platform.
The PAV course includes instruction on how to use a PAV safely via both theory and practical training. The more popular route most people choose to take is the IPAF 3a course; this will cover the operator for both PAV platforms and scissor lifts should they need them (which they often do).
Providing you complete full machine familiarisation with the PAV and note this in your log book, you can operate a PAV with your 3a licence. Star Platforms run 3a courses daily, for dates visit www.starplatforms.co.uk/training.
Due to the increase in demand from our customers we have significantly invested in low-level access platforms by adding over 100 to our hire fleet in the last six months (with more on the way). If you have a requirement for low-level powered access equipment, or are unsure of what machine you need, contact our experienced hire team on 0844 682 0000 or [email protected] and they will be more than happy to help.
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