An Operator's Due Diligence Equals a Safe Work Site
Whether you're driving a car at 60 mph or working in a lift 60 feet in the air, you can be assured that both machines have been designed with safety features. However, if you don't operate each properly, you can get yourself or someone else hurt.
When it comes to the work site, however, the responsibility of safety begins with the operator's due diligence. Based on lessons learned over the years, here are a number of tips to help ensure that your compact lift is protected and secured and you are in the safest situation possible.
Planning is Everything
Historically, more accidents happen during machine loading and unloading. It's the most dangerous part of lift operation since the equipment is in transition from a stable surface and can tilt or fall on workers. Following the tips below will help all operators be vigilant in providing a safer loading and unloading experience.
- Use the remote control and stand to the side, away from the lift, while loading and unloading from a trailer.
- Never load while operating the machine from the basket.
- Load the front of the machine uphill or onto the trailer first. This allows more forward weight that can result in a safer load and unload process.
- Align the machine first before starting the climb up the ramp. This will result in less side-to-side movement in the most precarious of positions.
- Operate the lift in the "turtle mode" for smoother movement and better control.
Safety Should Not Be an Uphill Battle
Operating the machine on side hill slopes and inclines can create greater risks than working on a flat surface. We have some suggested steps that will help you get the most out of your lift while working in a hilly situation.
- Walk the intended path of travel to confirm there are no voids or drop-offs which could cause a tip hazard.
- When traversing a side hill slope, utilize the adjustable track feature and extend the downhill track to help level the machine to the pitch of the slope.
- Deploy the outriggers on the downhill side to where they are just a couple of inches off the ground. Should something give way or the lift start to tip, the outriggers will help stabilize the machine, preventing damage to itself and other property.
Remember to use the remote control and position yourself on the uphill side of the machine for your own safety.
It's All About StabilitySetting the machine up and stabilizing it on uneven or sloped surfaces must be completed with some forethought and vigilance to maximize safety. Though compact track lifts typically stabilize on slopes ranging from 12% to 30%, there are some caveats you should know to ensure the work site is ideal to handle the work at hand.
- Always deploy the outriggers on a flat surface even though the machine itself has outriggers that can stabilize on steep inclines. On soil, create a "cutout" so the outrigger's pads and feet are flat. On concrete or other solid surfaces, use a level and secure blocking underneath the feet.
- At a minimum, confirm two outrigger feet on the same side of the machine are on a flat surface.
- Closely inspect the placement location for each of the individual outrigger feet to make sure the ground or surface beneath it is solid and stable enough to support the machine's setup. Never attempt to set up the lift in soggy, soft or unstable surfaces.
Where the Track Hits the Ground
If some of these steps sound familiar to you, that is good. Many are included in recommended job site assessment and environmental awareness activities. They are designed for a successful and injury-free workday.
However, the principles of work site safety and precautions are not unique to this machine. Safety should always be part of any organization's culture. This is where the track hits the ground so to speak. Everyone involved with compact lifts must be vigilant in their own safety and the safety of others. Think of it like this: Would you operate a chainsaw without wearing a face shield? Would you operate a chainsaw with just one hand? We certainly hope the answers are "No."
At Teupen, we have a guiding principle: safety is far more important than speed when planning and completing a job. Think, then do. Take the time to think before you act and avoid lost time later! This will help you avoid the complacency that comes at the end of the day when you want to get home. We want you to get home too, but we want you to get home safely.
If you would like additional information about safety procedures to add to your culture of safety, please read this article. Alternatively, if you have your own lessons learned or other tips to share, please contact us.