Cherry pickers are a type of access platform commonly used in construction and maintenance projects to access high and difficult-to-reach areas. When operated correctly, they can be safer, more efficient and easier to set up than traditional equipment such as scaffolding. However, using a cherry picker incorrectly can lead to accidents, injuries and damage to the machinery.
To ensure the safety of everyone on the worksite, it’s important to familiarise yourself with proper cherry picker operation. In this guide, we will discuss five of the most common mistakes made when using cherry pickers, and how to avoid them.
Overreaching is a common mistake people make when using a cherry picker. This can occur when operators attempt to reach objects that are too far away from the access platform. When operators reach too far, they risk losing their balance and falling, or causing the cherry picker to tip over.
It’s important to understand the maximum vertical and horizontal reach your equipment offers, as each model has different specifications. Before buying or hiring an access platform, be sure the type you choose is suitable for the task at hand.
To avoid overreaching, operators should take the time to properly position the cherry picker before starting the job. They should also make sure to keep their weight centred on the platform and avoid leaning over the edge.
2. Overloading the Platform
Another mistake that cherry picker operators can make is overloading the access platform. Each model of cherry picker has a specific weight limit, and exceeding this limit can cause instability. This can result in damage to the equipment or the cherry picker tipping over, leading to serious injury.
To avoid this mistake, operators should make sure they know the maximum load capacity of the cherry picker they are using. They should also be aware of the weight of the workers on the platform, as well as any equipment or materials they are carrying. It’s also important to consider changes in weight distribution that may occur while moving or working on the platform.
3. Inadequate Fall Protection
When working at height using a cherry picker, operators should use a personal fall arrest system. This typically includes a full-body harness, connected by a lanyard or lifeline to an anchorage point on the cherry picker.
There are many mistakes that can be made when it comes to fall protection. For example:
- Not using a harness or failing to securely attach it to the platform.
- Failing to inspect the harness, lanyard and other components to ensure they are in good condition and free from damage.
- Not fitting and adjusting the harness correctly – this could result in slipping out during a fall.
- Not checking the length of the fall arrest device to minimise the potential fall distance.
Learning how to correctly use a fall protection system is key to safely operating a cherry picker. This can help to prevent serious injuries or death in the event of a fall.
4. Improper Positioning
Improper positioning of a cherry picker or boom lift can significantly increase the risk of accidents. This is therefore one of the most serious mistakes cherry picker operators can make.
To properly position the equipment, operators should:
- Choose a level, firm, and stable surface for the cherry picker’s base.
- Make sure the ground can support the weight and pressure exerted by the equipment.
- Use outriggers or stabilisers, if available, to improve stability and distribute weight more evenly.
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for setting up and levelling the cherry picker.
- Maintain a safe distance from overhead power lines, due to a risk of electrocution.
If you plan to use the cherry picker on uneven ground, it’s important to choose an access platform that has all-terrain capabilities. These machines often have specialised features to enhance stability and manoeuvrability.
5. Skipping Routine Inspections
It’s crucial to conduct regular inspections when using a cherry picker or boom lift. This helps to identify any maintenance needs before they cause a problem, helping you to make the most out of your access platform.
A thorough cherry picker inspection should include:
- Examining the cherry picker for visible signs of damage or wear, such as under-inflated tyres or hydraulic fluid leaks. Ensure that all structural components, such as the boom and platform, are in good condition.
- Testing all controls, switches, and safety devices, such as limit switches, to ensure they are functioning correctly. Verify that the boom and platform movement is smooth and responsive, and that the emergency systems are working properly.
Failing to examine your cherry picker and carry out regular maintenance could mean a higher risk of accidents and breakdowns. This could lead to injury, damage or costly delays in your operations. All inspections and servicing should be carried out by an expert, such as TAG Forklift Truck Services.
Buy or Hire a Cherry Picker with TAG
If you are looking for a cherry picker for sale or hire, TAG Forklift Trucks can help. We are trusted suppliers of access platforms including cherry pickers, scissor lifts and masted lift trucks. We offer flexible cherry picker hire as well as new and used equipment for sale, refurbished to the highest standards.
Our cherry picker rental contracts are available in casual, short-term and long-term arrangements depending on your needs. Our experienced technicians also offer access equipment maintenance and servicing to keep your equipment running smoothly.
Contact TAG Forklift Truck Services to discuss your requirements with our helpful team. Fill in our online enquiry form or call us on 0161 848 0555 today.