When you're working at height, safety is always your top priority. But there is no universal approach to mast climber safety. Every provider has different standards of service.
From rigorous safety inspections where individual parts are broken down and inspected to less thorough checks which mostly rely on surface-level cleans and visual appearances. But just because a mast climber, or any piece of equipment, looks safe, doesn’t mean it is.
Here is what a good mast climber safety check looks like.
Before lifting workers hundreds of feet into the air, essential checks are carried out.
This includes a full inspection of all the mast and tie components, a weight test, testing a percentage of the anchors, and finally issuing a LOLER test certificate to the customer.
Safety Check Overview For Mastclimbers
Under local regulations it is the employer of the operator/s duty to ensure that the mast climbing work platforms are inspected whilst they are on site.
There are four main inspections for a mast climber.
The Daily Inspection
First thing in the morning, there is a daily inspection/pre-use check where the operator completes a checklist which includes items such as ground conditions, ensuring the safe working load charts are fitted, a visual inspection of the ties, and proper rack engagement.
The Weekly Inspection
The weekly inspection is performed by a competent person who has completed the IPAF Demonstrator course. Like the daily inspection, this is purely a visual and functional check of the mast climber. But also includes the testing of the upper limit switches.
The Six Weekly Inspection
The drive unit should undergo approximately 45 different checks for a six-weekly inspection. This particular inspection is carried out by a BFT site field engineer.
A few of the things that are inspected:
- All components should be properly tightened and secured. This includes nuts and bolts, clamps, and ties etc. Loose components can lead to accidents
- Make sure there is no corrosion or cracks on any of the metal parts - this can cause serious safety hazards while in use
- Test braking systems
The Six Monthly Thorough Examination
Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) regulations state that any platform that carries passengers has to be thoroughly examined every 6 months.
This examination includes a 110% load test to ensure the structure of the platform can take necessary loads. Upon completion of this examination, the customer is issued with a LOLER test certificate.
These types of checks will make sure everything is in working order. You wouldn’t drive without servicing your car. It’s the same with mast climbers. They require regular maintenance to maintain optimal safety.
And One More Thing – Operator Proficiency
Check the proficiency of the operator. Do they know how to carry out a daily inspection? Do they know how to operate the mast climber? Do you know how to use the emergency manual descent in case of a power failure?
If you feel confident that the answer to these questions is yes, then you are ready to climb. If not, then reach out to someone who can train the operator further. To prevent a situation where your operator does not seem particularly proficient, partner with a mast climber supplier who offers high levels of training.
No matter which service provider you choose, it’s important that you always prioritize safety when working at height. By being aware of the different standards of service out there, and knowing what to look for in a thorough inspection, you can help ensure that the equipment you’re using is up to par. If you want to learn more about how to create a safe work environment and avoid accidents while working at height, be sure to check out our recent publication: The Ultimate Guide to Mast Climbers.