Top Cherry Picker Safety Tips
Working at height can be very dangerous, as the figures from any year in the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) statistics on injuries at work will show. Falls are by far the biggest reason for death and serious injury, across all working environments, but with care and correct training, this risk can be very much diminished. One important element of working at a height is choosing the right equipment, and in many cases, a cherry picker is by far the safest option. Even so, they can be dangerous unless a few basic steps are carried out.
Safety Tip 1 – Check high and low
Before starting work with a cherry picker, you must check the ground and the space above your head. The ground must be as level as possible – a cherry picker is not advisable on very uneven ground, because when in use, the extra weight on the platform plus any movement there could cause it to tip over. Overhead, beware of wires or a ceiling which may be lower than it looks. Crush injuries are common amongst the users of cherry pickers who rise too high. If using a cherry picker to lop branches, it is important to make sure that no one leans over too far – a great temptation when using a platform to trim trees.
Safety Tip 2 – Don’t be a hero!
When working on a platform, there is a sense of false security which can result in leaning over too far. The whole point of using a cherry picker rather than a tower is that you can move it from place to place, so leaning over is unnecessary. You may feel you are saving a few moments, but it could be a lethal decision. Stay within the parameters of harness and platform to be totally safe.
Safety Tip 3 – Do a full risk assessment
When risk assessing a job involving a cherry picker one of the factors often forgotten is the human element. To some, a cherry picker is a fun thing to watch in action and people can be very stupid, standing below or trying to distract workers on the platform. By far the safest way to prevent accidents caused by others is to exclude them as far as possible from any working area. If this can’t be done, then copying them into your safety plans is the next best thing.
Safety Tip 4 – Training
Any safety precautions will be pointless if the person using the equipment is unfamiliar with it. Working at height on a static tower or ladder is not the same as working on a moveable platform and so training should be given to all staff who use or may be called upon to use a cherry picker or any powered access platform. Boss Training have a variety of IPAF accredited courses available, many available on site and it is recommended that all staff, even (or perhaps especially) if they only use mobile elevating work platforms infrequently, should take a course regularly, to keep up to date with health and safety requirements and keep everyone safe, up high and on the ground.