Safe working in winter
Weather during the winter months regularly poses special challenges to operators of aerial work platforms. The reason can be snow, ice and cold. Some are obvious but are, nonetheless, often underestimated.
For example, cold can have a negative effect on the constitution. Especially at high altitudes, it can freeze the operator quickly despite winter-proof clothing. The result: the concentration is reduced or cannot be maintained as long as at warmer temperatures. In addition, cold fingers and thick gloves can complicate the operating of control units. Therefore, be sure to wear suitable clothing and warming gloves that allow for unrestricted use of the different items, and take short breaks to warm up regularly.
Attention: slip hazard!
It can cause dangerous situations if the access platform does not have a firm and secure footing. For example, when the floor becomes soft and slippery during the day as a result of an increase in temperature and direct sunlight. Besides, if snow and ice cover the ground it is difficult to recognize unsuitable ground which poses a risk. The stability of the machine is temporarily at risk, which can lead to slipping and even tilting.The following should be considered when operating an aerial work platform:
- Inspect the underground and clear from snow and ice.
- Check the whole area for uneven ground, temporarily covered openings and pits. Make sure to check the load capacity to see whether they can withstand the floor pressure of the aerial work platform.
- Floor conditions can change due to a temperature increase during the day. Make sure the aerial work platform is level. Use dry leveling plates if necessary to prevent the machine from slipping, sinking or even tilting.
- Remember that in the least favorable position, up to 80% of the total weight of an aerial work platform can be loaded on a wheel, column or axle!
Battery charging during winter
Low temperatures can lead to batteries losing their charge. Besides, if batteries are recharged in cold conditions, the engine will not start - regardless of how long the charging time is. That usually does not mean that the battery or charger is broken. This is usually due to the low temperature. If it is under +6°C, the battery cannot be charged. In this case, move the access platform to a location above +6°C and charge the battery there or, in case of an emergency, remove the battery and charge it in a warm environment.
Working on aerial work platforms in winter hides many dangers that can be minimised by adhering these certain basic rules