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When used properly, forklift lift platforms can be a convenient, effective way for employees to work on jobs on elevated heights, such as replacing light bulbs, arranging products on high shelves, and changing out ceiling tiles.
The problem is that forklift work platforms aren’t always used properly. And given the potential risks involved with having employees work at elevated heights, even the smallest mistake can have enormous consequences.
Common Work Platform Errors
Perhaps the most common mistake with work platforms is moving the forklift while workers are still on the platform.it may be a pain to lower the work platform, remove the employees
While the proper procedure may be time-consuming — lowering the work platform, remove the employees, moving the vehicle to its new location, returning the workers to the platform, then elevating it back to the work area — it’s essential for eliminating or reducing the chances of worker injury or even death.
It’s simply not safe to move the forklift while workers are standing on an elevated work platform. For one thing, the higher the mast is elevated, the higher the vehicle’s center of gravity — and the higher the tipping risk. Even the smallest pothole or speed bump can be enough to rattle the workers on the work platform or, worse yet, tip over the vehicle entirely.
Another problem often associated with work platforms is the overhead clearance the employees working on the work platform have when it is elevated. Unlike a scissors lift, in which the workers on the platform can control the up and down movement of the platform, on a forklift work platform, it’s the operator who raises and lowers the platform.
But the forklift operator doesn’t have the same view that the people in the work platform have, so most teams rely on either radio contact, hand signals, or good, old-fashioned shouting at each other to avoid colliding with ceilings and rafters.
Another very common problem is whether or not the work platform is properly attached to the forklift when it is elevated while containing workers.
Most work platforms attach to the forklift via sleeves that fit over the vehicle’s forks. The platform is then held in place via pins, chains, or both so that it can’t accidentally slide off the forks if the forks were to be tipped downward.
But not all workers take the time to check to make sure these attachments are secured. If the pins or chains are worn, broken, snapped or were never secured in the first place, it can put the people working on the platform at risk of falling.
Work platforms can be very helpful, but only if they are used properly and with the utmost care. Avoid these most common mistakes — and require your workers to wear anti-fall personal protective gear such as harnesses clamped to the platform — and you can significantly improve the safety of any elevated operation.