At many jobsites boom lifts and cranes are used to reach a working area at height and lift and lower loads. However, lifting (heavy) materials is often carried out wrong.
Boom lifts are used to elevate workers and tools, for all kinds of tasks where a safe and stable elevated working platform is needed. Cranes are used to lift heavy loads to great heights. While it may seem like you can also lift materials with a boom lift, this is not what the equipment was designed for and it can cause dangerous tip-over situations.
Working from a boom lift
Fall protection can be required the moment you enter a basket of a boom lift, even though the basket may be surrounded by guardrails. In a previous blog we already discussed fall protection in aerial lifts and the risk of being ejected from an elevated platform or falling out of a basket.
Now we want to focus on another aspect of fall prevention while working at height in a boom lift; preventing a tip-over and thus a fall.
Boom lifts have a specified maximum load capacity, set by the manufacturer. This is the maximum weight the boom lift can carry safely without tipping over. The maximum load includes the weight of the worker and all tools, materials and equipment that the basket has to carry.
Manufacturers generally make load charts that detail the load capacities for a lift at different heights. For example, some machines have a maximum load of 454 kg (1000lbs) to a maximum height of 12m (40ft), above that height the maximum load capacity becomes 227 kg (500 lbs). A longer radius can also reduce lifting capacity.
Employers must ensure that all workers who have to work with a boom lift understand the maximum load and know how to safely carry objects or materials. For example, materials should not be larger than the basket to avoid instability.
Another point of attention is tool tethering. Ensure that materials and tools that are brought up, cannot fall down. Tools can be secured with a tool tether to the basket of a boom lift.
Know the difference
Boom lifts and cranes are made for different tasks and they do not have the same capabilities. A boom lift does not have the same lifting strength as a crane, and a crane is not suitable for lifting workers. Use the equipment for what it was designed for, to ensure safety for all.
Download the factsheet boom lift fall prevention with practices that will help prevent tip-overs and injuries.