Take professional approach to outrigger pads says safety expert
By Murray Pollok18 April 2011
The aerial platform industry needs to take a more professional approach to the selection, design and use of outrigger pads, said Chris Wraith, QSHE manager (Quality, Health, Safety and Environment) at Lavendon Access Services, speaking at the IPAF Summit Conference in Amsterdam on 14 April.
In a detailed presentation in which Mr Wraith demonstrated the importance of correctly specifying outrigger pads - and the potentially fatal consequences of not doing so - Mr Wraith said the industry as a whole and IPAF needed to work together to provide the information necessary to make it easier for rental companies and their customers to make the correct choices.
He said manufacturers should standardise on the units they use in specifying outrigger loads (he cited seven different units that are used in manuals); that information on ground bearing pressures on different soil types should be made widely available; and that materials allowing users to calculate the appropriate outrigger size for given conditions should also be produced.
"I strongly believe that there is a need to have an industry wide campaign", said Mr Wraith. He said an initiative similar to IPAF's international Clunk Click campaign for harnesses was required.
Mr Wraith has been working with an IPAF committee to provide guidance on the issue, and the committee is developing a website to provide some of the required technical information. The committee has also come up with the following draft statement on the use of outrigger plates; "Spreader plates should always be used with boom type MEWPs where they are fully supported on their outriggers."
The design of spreader plates is also an issue. "You probably don't think about it when you supply platforms", said Mr Wraith; "but believe me, you would when a machine goes over with one of your spreader plates."