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Forklift Work Platforms

There are specific requirements outlining lift truck safety standards and the work platform must be built by the manufacturer to comply. A custom designed work platform can be designed by a professional engineer as long as it also meets the design criteria in accordance with the applicable lift truck safety standard. These custom designed platforms must be certified by a professional engineer to maintain they have in fact been manufactured according to the engineers design and have followed all standards. The work platform must be legibly marked to show the name of the certifying engineer or the manufacturer.

Specific information is required to be marked on the equipment. For example, if the work platform is custom built, a unique code or identification number linking the design and certification documentation from the engineer needs to be visible. When the platform is a manufactured design, the serial or part number to allow the design of the work platform must be marked in able to be linked to the manufacturer`s documentation. The weight of the work platform when empty, along with the safety standard that the work platform was built to meet is among other required markings.

The maximum combined weight of the tools, people and materials permitted on the work platform is known as the rated load. This information must also be legibly marked on the work platform. Noting the minimum rated capacity of the lift truck that is required to safely handle the work platform can be determined by specifying the minimum wheel track and lift truck capacity or by the make and model of the lift truck that can be used with the platform. The method for fastening the work platform to the fork carriage or the forks must also be specified by a professional engineer or the manufacturer.

Another requirement for safety ensures the floor of the work platform has an anti-slip surface located not farther than 8 inches above the normal load supporting area of the forks. There must be a means provided in order to prevent the work platform and carriage from pivoting and rotating.

The lift truck must be used by a qualified operator who is authorized by the employer in order to use the machine for raising personnel in the work platform. The lift truck and the work platform must both be in compliance with OHSR and in good condition prior to the use of the system to raise personnel. All manufacturer or designer instructions that pertain to safe operation of the work platform must also be available in the workplace. If the carriage of the lift truck is capable of pivoting or rotating, these functions must be disabled to maintain safety. The work platform needs to be secured to the fork carriage or to the forks in the specified manner provided by the work platform manufacturer or a professional engineer.

Other safety ensuring requirements state that the weight of the work platform combined with the maximum rated load for the work platform must not exceed one third of the rated capacity of a rough terrain forklift or one half the rated capacity of a high lift truck for the reach and configuration being used.

A trial lift is required to be performed at each task location immediately prior to lifting personnel in the work platform. This practice ensures the lift truck and be positioned and maintained on a proper supporting surface and also to ensure there is enough reach to position the work platform to allow the task to be completed. The trial process also checks that the mast is vertical or that the boom can travel vertically.

A trial lift must be performed at each task location immediately prior to raising personnel in the work platform to ensure the lift truck can be positioned on an appropriate supporting surface, that there is sufficient reach to position the work platform to allow the task to be done, and that the mast is vertical or the boom travels vertically. Utilizing the tilt function for the mast can be used to assist with final positioning at the task location and the mast must travel in a vertical plane. The trial lift determines that adequate clearance can be maintained between the elevating mechanism of the lift truck and the work platform. Clearance is also checked in accordance with overhead obstructions, scaffolding, storage racks, and any surrounding structures, as well from hazards such as live electrical wires and energised equipment.

A communication system between the lift truck operator and the work platform occupants must be implemented to safely and efficiently control work platform operations. When there are multiple occupants on the work platform, one person must be designated to be the primary person responsible to signal the lift truck operator with work platform motion requests. A system of hand and arm signals must be established as an alternative mode of communication in case the primary electronic or voice means becomes disabled during work platform operations.

Safety measures dictate that personnel are not to be transported in the work platform between task locations and the platform must be lowered to grade or floor level before anyone enters or exits the platform as well. If the work platform does not have guardrail or sufficient protection on all sides, each occupant must wear an appropriate fall protection system secured to a designated anchor point on the work platform. Personnel must perform functions from the platform surface. It is strictly prohibited they do not stand on the guardrails or use any devices to increase the working height on the work platform.

Finally, the lift truck operator is required to remain within 10 feet or 3 metres of the lift truck controls and maintain visual contact with the work platform and with the lift truck. Whenever the lift truck platform is occupied the operator must adhere to the above requirements and remain in communication with the work platform occupants. These guidelines help to maintain workplace safety for everyone.

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