The use of personnel work platforms (also called man-baskets) is commonplace on virtually every construction site. Yet there continues to be a lot of confusion about if and when personnel work platforms can be used. For instance, can you use a work platform attached to a telescopic handler, a counterbalanced forklift or a front-end loader? While we go into detail about this in our telehandler training kit, the simple answer is: yes. Both OSHA and ANSI allow use of man baskets with these types of heavy equipment. But the standards also outline several key requirements. On these there can be no confusion:
- PPE, including fall protection, must be worn
- Never move a telehandler with someone elevated in the platform
- Workers should be aware of elevated personnel and the work area set up to protect them
- The platform’s path of forward progress must be free from hazards and obstruction
- Personnel must maintain firm footing
- Additional means of extending reach outside the scope of the telehandler are not permitted
- The work platform must be approved by the manufacturer of the exact model you are using
- And telehandlers are not to be used to lift personnel unless there is no other practical option
It is upon this last point— “unless there is no other practical option”—that the debate rages on. What “practical option” means is open to interpretation, common sense, and proper training. But the bottom line is this: as far as OSHA and ANSI are concerned, elevating personnel is best done with aerial platforms such as scissor lifts or boom supported aerial lifts. But if there is no other option for your company, you can use a telehandler to lift personnel if you use it and the attachment correctly and provided the manufacturer allows it.
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