Tips for Working in Bad Weather and Wind
Wind Can Prevent Work at Height
The highest permissible wind speed for working with aerial work platforms is 12.5 m/s (45 km/h). That roughly corresponds to wind force six. The details of the permissible wind speed can be read in the operating manual for each aerial work platform. When the maximum permissible wind force is reached, working with a platform must be terminated or interrupted.
Measuring Wind Force
"The decisive factor is not the wind force on the ground, but always that at working height. If it is not possible to estimate whether the current wind speed makes it possible to work at a certain (working) height, it must be measured at the relevant working height," said Gabriel.
For this, the use of a reliable anemometer is definitely recommended. Only such a device provides reliable data, from which conclusions can be drawn.
"If the wind speed is at a limit value, or if violent wind tunnels occur briefly, operators should always err on the side of caution and avoid risk," says Gabriels.
“If you don't have an anemometer, the IPAF website offers a solution. A table clearly states how the wind force is experienced (for example with wind force 6, people will have difficulty holding an umbrella) in order to estimate the correct wind force themselves.”
Working Safely in Rain
In addition to wind, when using aerial work platforms, rain also brings dangers, regardless of whether it is a short or long period of rain.
"The moisture can cause the ground to become soaked, with the risk of the wheels or supports moving or sinking. In the worst case, this may cause the aerial work platform to tip over, with unforeseeable consequences for all people on and under the aerial work platform," says Gabriëls.
"In an unfavourable position, a maximum of 80% of the total weight can be placed on a single wheel or support," Gabriëls continues. "Depending on the size of the platform, this can be several tons." Her tip: "Always use large ramps that distribute the weight of the platform over the largest possible surface."
Even though the IPAF certificate is valid for years, it is advisable that an employer regularly gives annual refresher instructions to employees.
"The instructions are intended to refresh the knowledge gained during training," says Gabriëls. "In addition, information is provided on legal and technical innovations or changes, for example in safety technology, occupational safety and health protection."
Since the learned details of safety knowledge will be forgotten in the long term, especially if no problems have occurred for a long time, these refresher courses are important to maintaining the safest work environment possible.
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