Cherry pickers, also known as boom lifts, are versatile pieces of access equipment. They are often used in construction, building maintenance and other industries that involve working at height.
Mobile elevated work platforms, like cherry pickers, can provide a safer and more convenient alternative to ladders and scaffolding. However, they can present a hazard if not operated and maintained properly.
It is important to understand and abide by cherry picker safety rules in order to reduce the risk of accidents occurring. In this guide, we will explore the main cherry picker regulations in the UK.
Cherry Picker Health and Safety Regulations (UK)
In the UK, the main legislation applicable to cherry pickers includes:
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
- The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
- The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR)
PUWER applies to all work equipment, while LOLER focuses specifically on lifting equipment, including cherry pickers and boom lifts. These regulations require that access equipment is suitable for its intended application, used by trained operators, and maintained in good working order.
WAHR aims to ensure the safety of all work at height, whether using a mobile access platform or other apparatus. It specifies measures that must be taken to prevent and minimise the consequences of falls.
Operator Training and Certification
According to Regulation 9 of PUWER, employers must ensure that all persons who use work equipment have received adequate training. Similarly, LOLER states that all lifting operations are carried out by competent individuals. This is one of the most important cherry picker safety requirements in the UK.
Cherry picker operator training should cover:
- The correct methods for using the equipment
- Any risks associated with the equipment
- Safe working practices and precautions to take
Operators should be trained on the specific type of cherry picker they will be using. They must also be able to demonstrate their competence and knowledge in using the equipment safely.
Though no specific certifications are required, operators must receive training endorsed by a recognised standard. In the UK, one such program is offered by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF). The IPAF training program leads to the PAL (Powered Access Licence) card, which is widely accepted as proof of operator competence in using cherry pickers.
Maintenance and Inspections
Under PUWER, employers must ensure all that work equipment is maintained in efficient working order, and in good repair.
LOLER specifies requirements for the thorough inspection of lifting equipment, including cherry pickers. According to LOLER, examinations should be carried out at the following intervals:
- Before the cherry picker is used for the first time
- After the installation or reassembly at a new site or location
- Periodic examinations at intervals not exceeding 6 months
- Following exceptional circumstances that may jeopardise the safety of the equipment, such as accidents, modifications or long periods of disuse
The inspection should include a comprehensive check of the cherry picker’s controls, brakes, hydraulic systems and other components. This should be documented in a report, and any defects that pose a safety risk should be remedied promptly.
The regulations also state that cherry picker inspections and maintenance should be carried out by a competent person. This means seeking the help of a reputable access equipment servicing company such as TAG Forklift Truck Services.
Safe Working Practices
LOLER emphasises the importance of the safe operation of mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs), including cherry pickers. WAHR specifically addresses safe practices when carrying out all work at height. To comply with these regulations, employers and contractors must:
- Select the right access platform for the job
- Ensure work carried out at height is properly planned and supervised
- Ensure that operators understand and follow manufacturer guidelines (e.g. weight limits)
- Implement and enforce safe working procedures, such as only using the cherry picker on a stable, level surface and during good weather conditions
- Take measures to prevent and minimise the impact of falls from height; this may include providing suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), such as harnesses and helmets
To create a safe working environment, formal risk assessments should also be carried out at regular intervals. This involves assessing potential hazards that may arise when using a cherry picker, and taking steps to mitigate them.
Driving Cherry Pickers on Public Roads
Finally, both vehicle-mounted and self-propelled cherry pickers must comply with road traffic regulations to be driven on public roads. This ensures the safety of both the driver and other road users and pedestrians. For example:
- Licensing: Drivers of cherry pickers should have the appropriate driving licence category for the specific type of vehicle they are operating. This depends on the weight and dimensions of the cherry picker.
- Registration: The vehicle must be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and have a valid Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C).
- Insurance: The vehicle must have the appropriate insurance coverage for use on public roads.
- Roadworthiness: Self-propelled and vehicle-mounted cherry pickers must meet road safety requirements, such as lighting, braking systems, and other safety features. They should also have a valid MOT (Ministry of Transport) test certificate if required, depending on the vehicle’s age and type.
- Speed Limits: Cherry pickers may be subject to specific speed limits based on their size and weight.
You may also need to apply for a permit with your local council in order to drive a cherry picker on the highway. This may entail a fee.
Choose Tag for Cherry Picker Hire and Sales
If you are looking to buy or hire cherry picker or boom lift equipment for your business, TAG Forklift Truck Services can help. We specialise in quality, reliable access platforms and warehouse equipment including cherry pickers, scissor lifts, masted lifts and forklifts.
We offer a range of long-term and short-term cherry picker rental contracts as well as new and used machinery for sale. We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service, flexibility and prompt delivery.
Contact TAG Forklift Truck Services to explore your options and find the perfect cherry picker for your needs. Fill in our online enquiry form or call us on 0161 848 0555.