High And Mighty: Choosing Suitable Boom Lift Accessories For Working At Heights

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Boom lifts are one of the most useful pieces of equipment around when it comes to working safely and efficiently at heights. However, the limited amount of space available on a raised boom lift platform can make certain tasks, such as working with heavy building materials, difficult or even dangerous.

To aid workers operating at heights with boom lifts, boom lift manufacturers have come up with a wide array of accessories and labour-saving devices, designed to aid both workers and lift operators in their duties. Boom lift hire companies generally offer these devices for hire alongside their lifts, often including them at no extra cost for longer hire periods, so it's important to familiarise yourself with them and find out just what they can offer you and your workers.

Pipe cradles

A real boon for workers installing guttering, ventilation ducts or other forms of piping, these simple devices are generally attached to the guardrails or side of the lift's platform and are useful for lifting larger bundles of pipes up to raised working areas. Using one of these cradles doesn't just make lifting pipes easier -- they also help to minimise overbalancing caused by heavy loads of pipes and can help to reduce worker fatigue over long working periods.

Pipe cradles are generally manufactured to fit to certain types and sizes of boom lift, so if you opt for one of these devices ensure that you are being offered the correct cradle for your chosen lift. If possible, you should also choose a cradle that can be easily removed when not in use, and many cradles use simple O-ring attachments that can be easily bolted or unbolted as required.

Panel cradles

These larger, bulkier cousins of pipe cradles are designed to carry large, heavy panels of building materials, such as drywall and structural timber panels. Some models also have padded clamps, making them safe to use with sheet glass and pre-fabricated windows. They are generally fitted to the outer guardrails of a lift platform, keeping large and unwieldy panels well out of the way until they are required.

Like pipe cradles, ensuring that you have the correct make of panel cradle for your chosen lift is essential. You should also bear in mind that these devices are almost always hired out in pairs and should be used in tandem to prevent one side of the lifting platform becoming overburdened.

Safety devices

Obviously working on the platform of a boom lift is far from the safest job in the world, and while boom lift hire companies take every precaution to make sure their lifts are safe to use, you may wish to hire out some supplementary safety equipment. Two of the most useful pieces of safety equipment include:

Platform cagesThese devices resemble the roll cages found in high performance cars and can be fitted to the sides or top of a lift platform. This cage provides extra protection for workers on the platform in case of a collision and also provide excellent protection against heavy materials falling from above.

Control panel cutoffs: These cutoffs are designed to prevent workers on the platform from accidentally operating the platform's control panel during work and consist of a pressure sensor mounted above or underneath the control panel. When sufficient pressure is applied to this sensor (for instance, by accidentally leaning on the control panel or resting building materials against it) power to the platform's controls is immediately cut and an alarm is sent to workers at ground level.