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Lift platforms are one of the most widely used forklift attachments in many different types of businesses today. They allow workers to reach heights conveniently while attaching to your existing forklifts, eliminating the need for buying specialized equipment like scissor lifts or cherry pickers.
But lift platform forklift attachments are also inherently dangerous. Anytime people are put at great heights, they are potentially in peril.
While the use of lift platform forklift attachments involves risks, these can be mitigated with a few simple safety rules.
When it comes to aerial lifts — whether they are lift platform forklift attachments of equipment like scissor lifts — there are four major risks:
- Electric Shock — There’s a reason power lines are usually raised high off the ground. It’s because they carry incredible amounts of live electricity. And if a worker were to touch live power lines even for an instant, it can have grave consequences.
- Falls or Ejections — Falls from the lift platform are a possibility anytime workers are raised to any height. A momentary lapse in attention and a worker can easily step off the edge or fall over the guard rails.
- Tip-Over Accidents — Another common risk of lift platform forklift attachments are tip-over accidents. While forklifts are heavy and stable, the higher the mast is raised the more the vehicle’s center of gravity goes up. Add to that the weight of workers or equipment in the lift platform attachment and the risk of a tip-over accident is even higher.
- Falling Objects — Gravity is not your friend, especially when you are working on a lift platform forklift attachment. Tools, parts, equipment, or other materials can easily slip off the surface, falling to the ground and endangering the operator or others below.
Avoiding the risks involved with using a lift platform forklift attachment is three-pronged: Employee training, pre-operation inspections, and the use of safety equipment.
Requiring any employee who works with a lift platform to undergo extensive safety training prior to stepping on board is critical. Once workers understand the risks, they are more likely to be aware of them and avoid them altogether.
Having workers conduct pre-operation of the lift platform attachment reinforces these safety rules and forces them to pay more attention to the task at hand.
Finally, using Personal Protective Equipment including harnesses, anti-fall devices, hard hats, and guard rails, can help protect workers while they are held aloft by the forklift.
Working with lift platforms can be dangerous, but businesses can reduce this risk through awareness, vigilance, and the use of PPE.