Have you ever wondered how construction workers were able to reach those high heights with no visible signs of scaffolding used? Or perhaps you’ve walked past a construction site and noticed some large piece of machinery lifting people to reach tall heights, and you’re wondering what they probably are?
Well, most often than not, you’re looking at a cherry-picker. Recently, those big pieces of machinery have found application in a variety of tasks, like from accessing over-head power lines to performing stunts in an entertainment play.
What is a Cherry Picker?
A cherry picker, also known as basket crane, man lift, hydra-ladder or boom lift, is a type of crane with a railed-platform that is used to raise and lower workers to reach elevated working surfaces. It was designed originally for cherry picking in the farm.
Cherry pickers are incredibly versatile and are used on worksites for different purposes, though primarily to reach inaccessible heights. Construction workers utilize man lift to access buildings to install or maintain windows, paint, install signage, work on electrical systems, install and maintain lighting and much more.
These basket cranes are incredibly useful machines but, operating them comes with high risk. Injuries and deaths are not uncommon reports on worksites; hence it has become crucial that workers receive adequate training and certification before using them.
How cherry picker operators can prevent accidents and save lives
The best way to prevent accidents is by training operators to be familiar with how a cherry picker works, its unique characteristics, and how to properly operate one. It is important also to ensure that the course is OSHA compliant.
Some of the safety measures include:
- Don’t overload or exceed weight limit
- Don’t sit or climb over the guard rails.
- Maintain lift properly – this is especially important for rented machinery in particular.
- Routinely inspect safety devices and controls
- Always wear fall protection gears – this includes using the seat belts, full body harness when working at a height
- Don’t drive a cherry picker with the lift out
- Use wheel stumps on sloped ground
Other safety measures recommended include:
- Avoid power lines: electrocution is one of the major risks cherry operators are exposed to; hence it is important to avoid overhead cables as much as possible. Here are possible actions one can take to prevent this:
- Rotate and move slowly: avoid sudden jerks of the basket as this could lead to direct contact with power lines. So when working on a power cable, the operator should rotate and slowly move away from the lines.
- Wear protective clothing: As an industry standard, electrical workers who are working on or near live power cables are expected to wear insulated clothing and tools, use rubber sleeves, voltage-rated safety boots, and other necessary safety equipment.
- Efforts should be made to kill live power lines before commencing any work.
- Strict compliance with safety protocols should be adhered to by all workers on worksite and measures such as regularly testing the basket crane to ensure its insulation meets regulatory standards.
Operating boom lift puts the operator in harm’s way; to stay safe; comprehensive and adequate certification training is needed to educate the worker on safety measures.