Staying safe while operating a manlift

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It goes without saying that manlift safety is super important for protecting your crew from harm. This article outlines what you need to be aware of when operating a manlift, including common risks, how to prevent them and the current legislation regarding elevating work platform (EWP) equipment. 


Inspecting your equipment and worksite

To ensure manlift safety, you need to inspect your equipment and worksite. If you are involved in construction work, it may be considered high-risk work. You’ll need to make a safe work method statement (SWMS). This document outlines your control measures that will address any EWP-related hazards or risks. Thinking about risks ahead of time is essential – what could happen? How could that endanger workers or the general public? Look for threats in the environment. Uneven ground, high winds, or overhead power lines. These could all be dangerous factors on a worksite. The manlift could also be faulty and a liability in work health and safety (WHS). 


Safe Work Australia regulations 

According to Safe Work Australia:

“Under WHS laws, various persons have duties to control the risks of working with EWPs, including the:

  • EWP designer, manufacturer, importer and/or supplier
  • EWP owner and other people with management or control of the EWP or the workplace where an EWP will operate
  • competent person who inspects the EWP and
  • EWP operator.”

Everyone is responsible for ensuring that workplaces are safe when workers are operating a manlift.


OSHA regulations for operating a manlift

In the USA, they have OSHA regulations for operating a manlift, which stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These rules dictate the acceptable conditions and functions of manlift safety. In Australia, we have national WHS laws, but the states and territories, such as WorkSafe Victoria, enforce them. Get familiar with the laws and regulations regarding manlifts and EWP equipment in your state or territory. 


Risks to look out for when operating a manlift 

When working at heights, there are certain risks that you need to be aware of, and these pertain specifically to manlifts. 


Exceeding load limits

If the load is heavier than the capacity of your manlift, then it could fall over. When a manlift tips over, the person on the platform might fall out, which could cause an injury. Using a lift on uneven terrain that the lift is not designed for could also cause it to tip. 


Moving while the platform raised 

It is unwise to move your manlift while the platform is raised, and it is even more dangerous to move it when there is a worker in the raised platform. It is also important to wear safety harnesses and attach lanyards to prevent hazardous falls. 


Overhead dangers

It can be easy to forget overhead hazards when considering manlift safety. Overhead beams are particularly dangerous and can lead to crushing if a manlift moves suddenly. Active power lines pose another risk when working at heights. 


Using a manlift for other purposes

Each kind of EWP equipment has its intended purpose, and your use of the machine should stay consistent with that. Do not use a manlift to carry building materials or wood, as these things can fall off and hit workers that are below. Using a forklift as a manlift is inadvisable and dangerous and could have serious repercussions.


Get the right equipment

If it is essential to use the right equipment as it is designed to be used, then it makes sense to ensure you have suitable equipment for your job and worksite. At All Star, we make this easy with our onsite assessments. We come to your site and find out about your requirements before drawing on our vast industry experience to recommend a specific equipment model for you. This process saves you time and money, ensuring you have exactly what you need when you need it.


Getting the proper training

Workers need the proper training to equip them with the skills and experience they need for manlift safety. As “a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)” by WHS law, you are responsible for the safety of your workers, and you must do everything possible to reduce hazard risk. This legislation includes ensuring your workers have the training to operate a manlift safely. This may mean that your employees need an Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia  (EWPA) Yellow Card or other training in using a manlift and any other machines they may be asked to operate. At All Star, we offer EWP training options that you may want to consider.  


Keeping your equipment well-maintained  

Again, this comes under the responsibility of the PCBU but also the supplier of the EWP. At All Star Access Hire, we keep our young fleet of equipment well-maintained at all times and conduct 10-year testing so that our machines are always compliant with all relevant legislation. We also offer a 24/7 phone line, so if a breakdown does occur, we will have you up and running again in no time with a quick fix or a switched piece of equipment. 


See our full range of manlifts for hire