Concerns over ‘barehand' work in Europe

24 April 2008

One European utility platform insider, who requested anonymity, told Access International that there are utility companies in Norway, France, Spain and Greece importing US machines designed for rubber glove, live line work but who are using them for bare-hand work. (The two types of work are differentiated in the US ANSI design and use code.)

In addition, US machines are not designed for live line use in the rain, but there are imported machines being used in Europe in the wet. It is common practice in Europe to continue working as long as it was dry when the job started, although some manufacturers, such as Time Export in Denmark, advise stopping work when it rains.

There is not a question of US-built machines being safe, rather that some may be used inappropriately, with the picture made more complicated by the fact that the US ANSI code has a process that allows for platforms to be modified for varying uses.

Gary McAlexander, president of Intercontinental Equipment Company in the US and a member of ANSI standard drafting committees for utility aerial devices, writing in the next issue of Access International, says; “there may be confusion among members of the industry in both the international and US communities about the design and the appropriate use of the insulating aerial devices.

“I have a subjective view and truly believe that the US products generally offer the best value and are the safest on the planet. But, I would add that it is very necessary that the work to be performed and the methods selected to accomplish it are vital to the safety of the user.

• • See Mr McAlexander's full article in the July-August issue of Access International.

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