Workshop safety by CCS Garage Equipment: Choosing working at height equipment

13 May 2022

Using the right equipment in your workshop is essential to protect your people and your health and safety record. CCS Garage Equipment is committed to ensuring our clients operate the safest workshops in the UK and Ireland. In this piece, our specialist team advises on choosing the right equipment for your team when working at height.

Choosing the right equipment for working at height in vehicle workshops & other industries

Choosing the right equipment for working at height in vehicle workshops & other industries

Working at height demands thorough planning and investment in the right safety equipment, which will prevent potentially fatal falls by your personnel.

In 2020/21, the HSE reported 35 workplace deaths caused by falling from a height. In fact, falling from height was the greatest cause of workplace fatalities that year, with the largest number of fatalities occurring in the construction industry. So what steps can you take to ensure your teams are safe?

How do I decide which equipment to use when working at height?

Many of our vehicle workshop clients' personnel work at height regularly, whether accessing taller vehicles for maintenance, repair and cleaning, carrying out workshop repairs and maintenance or accessing parts and equipment stores at height.

Choosing the right equipment is essential, but this will vary from job to job, and from workshop to workshop. There are a number of factors to consider:

  • The height your teams will be working at
  • How much space you have available
  • Whether team members will be working together or alone
  • How long, and how often, your people will be working at height
  • The weight your equipment will need to carry - eg. will your people need tools, equipment or be carrying loads?
  • The surface your equipment will rest on - eg. is the ground sturdy and level?
  • Whether the working area can be freely accessed, or whether there are obstructions such as machinery or overhead equipment

For quick tasks at lower heights which don't require much use of tooling or carrying loads, ladders or step ladders may be sufficient. But if people are working for longer or more regular periods at greater heights, you'll perhaps want to consider mobile steps or access platforms, mobile access towers or scaffolding.

You'll also need to assess the working space available for your work at height equipment, ensuring accessways are large enough to accommodate the equipment you need.

Your work at height risk assessment should consider available space, ground level and stability and obstructions, either at ground level or overhead such as power lines, roof or other structures.

What types of working at height equipment are there?

Working at height equipment is much more than just a ladder. Depending on your task and the length of time your people will work at height, you may choose equipment such as:

🚧 Scaffolding

Secure scaffolding provides fast, longer-term vertical access. Fixed scaffolding is tied to a structure or building, making for steady and safe access across multiple levels and featuring guard rails for enhanced safety in construction. Used for long periods of time, fixed scaffolding is generally utilised in construction projects, refurbishment and maintenance both inside and out. 

Freestanding tower scaffolds provide access to height without the need to be tied to a structure or building. Built to a maximum 12m height, tower scaffolds should also contain guard rails as a fall prevention feature and may be used internally or externally.

While scaffolding makes for an excellent method of access for working at height, hazards are still presented through poor scaffolding construction, lack of guard rails, instability in some weather conditions, overloading and poor maintenance.

🚧 Scissor lifts

Used for working heights between 7-18m, scissor lifts are designed for vertical lifting and are suitable for both indoor and external use. Narrow models allow for lifting in tight spaces, and fall prevention guard rails create a safe working space for your people.

Although easy to use, scissor lifts are a more expensive lifting option, whether to buy or to hire, but provide excellent stability and safety for working at height. As a piece of lifting equipment, scissor lifts are required by law to have a LOLER inspection each year to identify any risks and maintenance or repairs needed.

🚧 Boom lifts

More flexible than a scissor lift, boom lifts - often known as cherry pickers - can be moved both vertically and horizontally to access harder-to-reach areas which may be above machinery, structures or other hazards. Boom lifts can reach up to 30m, with personnel working from a cage protected by a guard rail.

A boom lift may be trailer-mounted or self-propelled, used externally or internally. Another more expensive option, boom lifts are used for short-term tasks such as maintaining lighting or a building's external parts.

🚧 Mobile steps & access platforms

Mobile steps and access platforms are a great investment for workshops routinely accessing higher-level areas, such as working on taller vehicles, reaching warehousing or stores, or maintaining workshop equipment located at height. Versatile and sturdy, mobile steps make an excellent safety product which is customisable to your workshop's requirements.

Choose options such as brake systems, extended platforms, guard rails and gates for enhanced personnel safety when using mobile steps and access platform equipment.

CCS recommends mobile steps and access platforms by Klime-Ezee, a British manufacturer of quality mobile step and access products. Klime-Ezee's customers range from vehicle workshops and logistics operations to libraries and museum archives.

More on Klime-Ezee mobile steps and access platform products supplied by CCS Garage Equipment

🚧 Ladders

Ladders and stepladders are useful, but are recommended only for short periods of use - usually under 30 minutes. Personnel should maintain 3 points of contact at all times, so ladders are unsuitable for tasks requiring both hands, and no tools, loads or other equipment should be carried.

Where tasks are quick, simple and space is tight, ladders may be preferred but ensure that ground is stable and ladders secured before use.

Working at height safely with CCS Garage Equipment

CCS Garage Equipment is committed to enhancing workplace safety for our garage and vehicle workshop clients throughout the UK and Ireland.

Under the Work at Height Regulations 2005, employers and those controlling personnel working at height - for example, building owners with sub-contractors or facilities managers - are required to ensure that work at height is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people.

Obligations include the requirement to use the right equipment following a risk assessment.

Our article contains more information about Work at Height Regulations and what you need to do as an employer.

Order customised mobile steps & access platforms with CCS Garage Equipment

CCS is a garage equipment leader in the UK and Ireland, supporting clients including major dealership chains, local authorities, emergency services fleet operators, vehicle hire organisations and service providers with expert garage equipment supply, installation, maintenance, servicing, calibration, inspection and testing services.

Since 1992, we've partnered with clients to keep workshops operating safely and efficiently, delivering support, advice and consultancy that's backed by years of unique garage equipment industry experience. We're trusted by our clients to deliver every element needed for a safe and functional workshop, and we're proud to thrive on continually excellent feedback.

Order Klime-Ezee mobile steps & access platforms from CCS Garage Equipment

Contact CCS to find out more about Klime-Ezee mobile steps and access platform range and to request a quote. 5 year guarantee on every product!


 
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