Making the right choice when it comes to aerial lift equipment is absolutely necessary to a successful and worry-free experience. Operators that have no choice but to work with the wrong lift equipment are oftentimes tempted to sacrifice safety in order to make the lift work for them.
Rather than forcing your operators to compromise safety, you should carefully select your lift equipment. (Just because you have the right piece of lift equipment doesn’t mean that accidents won’t still happen and that you shouldn’t follow through with traditional and required safety measures.) Don’t make your choice based on previous rentals, guesses, or simply what is available for rental at that time. There are a number of ways to prepare yourself before you start looking at aerial lift equipment.
Consider the Application and Job Site
It’s no surprise that there are many types of aerial lifts. With that in mind, you need to be aware that there isn’t one machine out there that is intended for every single application. Different lifts are intended for different applications and uses. First and foremost you need to make sure that you get a lift that has the proper reach for your application. Additionally, you need to make sure that the lift will be capable of getting from the delivery truck to the job site. There are many unforeseen obstacles that you may not consider when choosing a lift. Included in these are aisle-ways, rough surfaces, turning radiuses, elevators, and slopes. Check to make sure that the job site(s) will have the proper power sources easily accessible and that there is no obstacles blocking the equipment’s path.
Additionally, you want to consider how the machine will be used, the weight of the lift’s load(this is extremely important!), and the size of the lift and job site.
Measuring is Necessary! Don’t Settle for “Eyeing it Up”
Don’t skimp on measuring when you’re deciding on the right lift. The last thing that you want to happen when your lift arrives is to discover that you can’t get it to the job site and to have to delay the job, your crew, and your employer if you’re contracting. An ultrasonic distance meter is the perfect tool for measuring out the job site so there aren’t any unforeseen problems when your lift arrives.
As an alternative to using an ultrasonic distance meter, you can count the rows of cinder blocks from the floor to the ceiling and multiply that number by eight because the typical height of a cinder block is eight inches. This will give you an accurate enough of a measurement. To be sure, measure the height of one cinder block.
You will also need to confirm the up and over reach. It is typical for most scissor lifts to have a 3’ or greater deck extension. This deck extension enables the machine to drive up to and lift above the structure, extend the deck extension, and achieve up and over reach. Most lift manufacturers provide a spec called pivotal height that tells us at what elevated height the lift operator can pivot over the obstruction.
There are two separate capacity ratings provided by lift manufacturers. The first is for the maximum number of persons allowed in the platform. The other capacity is the total weight of the people, tools, and materials in the platform. Don’t exceed these capacities or it can lead to a much higher likelihood of disastrous accidents!
Surface of Floor
Lift manufacturers provide a gradeability rating on the lifts spec sheet. You should be aware of any inclines or slopes that the lift will be required to ascend or descend on the job. This rating should not be exceeded. Additionally, you should research the floor surface and see if it is capable of supporting the lift at maximum capacity.
Type of Fuel
Considering the type of fuel that your lift is powered by is very important, especially if you run a multi-shift operation that requires lifts to be ready to go at nearly every hour of the day. If this is the case, you will want to get a lift that is powered by liquid propane gas since there is no downtime required. This is because battery powered lifts will run approximately 4 hours before they need to be recharged. When the battery is fully discharged, it will take 6-8 hours before it is fully charged again.