Due to the risks involved, a man up safety cage should only ever be used in exceptional circumstances. Below we have written a short guide to help you minimise the risks of using this forklift truck attachment.
Explore alternative solutions
Under the regulations which legislate working at height, employers must prioritise suitability of equipment for the task at hand above all else. While the occasional use of non-integrated working platforms, such as man up safety cages, with forklift trucks is permitted, serious accidents can occur when this is not done safely. It should be noted that non-integrated work platforms do not provide the same levels of safety as purpose-built equipment, so unless you’re carrying out non-routine maintenance tasks – such as checking or replacing roof lighting – seek an alternative solution.
Select a suitable truck
Once you’ve determined that using a man up safety cage is necessary, it is essential that the working platform is compatible with whatever truck you decide to use. Consult the manufacturer or supplier to confirm this before commencing any work.
The truck platform must have adequate stability under all circumstances in which it is to be used. The weight of the platform – including the total load of people, materials and tools – cannot be more than half the capacity of the truck it is to be attached to.
Secure the mechanism correctly
The platform must be locked on to the truck in accordance with both the truck and platform manufacturers’ recommendations. Once the platform has been fitted to the truck, the user needs to make sure the platform’s screens and guards give adequate protection against trapping or crushing.
A sign should be attached to the working platform to easily identify the specific trucks it can be used on and users should be informed that working platforms should not be used on trucks which don’t appear on the sign.
Communication is key
Adequate communication between the people on the platform and the truck operator is vital, especially at the points of raising and lowering. If communication is difficult, hand-held communication devices or a system of hand signals must be used.
When using hand signals, a system should be decided upon to ensure its proper use – ensure training for this is given beforehand.
Understand when not to use a cage
Non-integrated platforms are unsuitable in certain circumstances. If you’re using a truck that requires manual sequencing to maintain a horizontal working platform or a vehicle that has a capacity of less than 1,000 kg, you’ll need to seek an alternative solution. They should also not be used for trucks with masts that give erratic movement due to sequencing problems, variable reach trucks that are able to lift to a nominal height of more than 6m and pallet stackers with wrap-over type forks.
Ditch the safety cage and use a scissor lift
Electric scissor lifts are the ideal alternative to the extensive problems around using safety cages. They are easy to service and require little maintenance. They are also compact and versatile for a wide range of jobs; as well as providing excellent safety and reliability for your business, they are ideal for manoeuvring within tight spaces. They increase controllability, they are beneficial when working in confined areas and have reduced noise levels. Not only do they minimise important safety risks, but they also save time and worry in regard to implementing the above safety guidelines required to use a safety cage. Why take safety risks with your workforce or yourself? Electric scissor lifts are the ideal, safe choice for a modern workplace.