Mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) are commonly used in industries like construction, landscaping, industrial maintenance and industrial cleaning, to allow for safe and efficient work at height. However, accessing some work environments requires an even greater degree of safety, stability and functionality than general access gear can offer.
According to Travis Heap, Product Specialist - Access, Scaffold & Material Handling, Coates’ range of speciality equipment can safely and reliably provide access in some of the more challenging conditions. “Specialist equipment might look similar to other general access gear, but its specification and use can be vastly different,” he says.
Here’s a quick look at when specialist access equipment is needed, and the types of equipment that can help you to get the job done.
Specialist access equipment supports work in a variety of environments, including working at extreme heights; on steep slopes, rough and uneven terrain; and in tight and confined spaces.
"Lightweight and manoeuvrable spider booms can negotiate smaller access points and allow work to be performed on suspended slabs,” says Travis. “Coates also has ultra-booms in its fleet that can safely take you up as high as 56m.”
Bi-levelling access technology has come a long way too. “Traditionally, for spider booms to be levelled, they first had to travel on a sloping surface without tipping over. There also needed to be adequate space for the legs to be put down to manually level up,” Travis explains.
“Today, there are different types of equipment that level as you travel, improving stability and operator confidence, allowing work to be performed on surfaces that general access equipment can’t withstand.”
There are many different types of specialist access equipment available for hire in Australia, depending on your particular access needs. Here are some popular examples offered nationwide by Coates.
The Athena scissor lifts thrive in extreme access situations, helping customers to work in locations that were previously only accessible by scaffolding. A collapsible and extendible platform for overhead transitioning make the Athena 870 well-suited to working under bridges, while dynamic levelling helps it to perform well on car park ramps. The highly compact Athena 1090 can self level on slopes up to 20 degrees on both axes. Both can be driven at full height, with automatic cut out if re-levelling is required.
With a working height of 12.2m, the Jibbi tracked crawler telescopic boom safely and easily operates in rough terrain and on slopes up to 15 degrees in both front and sideways conditions. It features non-marking tracks with adjustable track width and secondary sensor guarding. And the design of the Jibbi 1250 EVO allows for a lateral variable outreach from 5.5 to 7.0m, depending on the operational conditions.
Images courtesy of Almac
While specialist access equipment can be a game changer, all heavy equipment has limitations and is considered high risk.
“If you get caught out using the wrong access equipment or working in the wrong conditions, jobs can very quickly go south,” says Travis. “But as long as you understand what your equipment can safely do and use it accordingly, you will find new efficiencies and have better experiences working at height.”
Choosing and using specialist access equipment is influenced by a variety of factors, like the work space that you need to access; your site terrain and ground conditions; the loads you need to lift; the suitability of your equipment for the tasks that need to be performed; and the maximum heights you need to reach.
Other considerations include:
The amount of outreach required, noting that specialist equipment can have less outreach than similar general access equipment. The direction access equipment must face on a slope also affects its outreach and levelling capability.
Choosing the right power source for safe use (indoors and outdoors) and for ease of refuelling.
Transportation to, from and around site, including manoeuvring in and around tight spaces.
Whether equipment is top heavy (like spider booms).
For safety and ease of use, consider the prior experience of operators, and the requirement for special licences or tickets.
Risks around the work area, including the potential crush risk for the operator or passenger. All Coates booms and scissor lifts have operator protection systems or secondary guarding that prevent the operator from being trapped.
Choosing telemetry enabled access equipment can also improve the performance of access equipment and achieve greater efficiencies on site. Coates has an established telemetry offering across its heavy equipment fleet.
Whether there are low or zero emissions models available, or speciality access equipment that is compatible with biodiesel blends. See Coates Greener Choices range of more sustainable equipment for more information.
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