Cherry picker safety

Written by cathryn whitehead
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Cherry pickers are lifts that raise people into the air. These work platforms have a bucket, or platform, on the end of a hydraulic lift system. Originally designed to use in orchards, cherry pickers are used to service telephone, cable television and electrical equipment. Window cleaners, shipbuilders, exterior painters and power washers use them. Some firetrucks use cherry pickers instead of ladders. They're also used for construction, warehouses, mining, tree trimming and other landscaping.

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Expert Insight

According to the Health and Safety Commission, the most common cause of death at work is a fall from a height. This is also the second most common cause of serious injuries at work. Using cherry pickers at home is even more likely to result in falls if they're not used by trained operators. Wearing a full body harness attached to a lanyard with a shock absorber can keep you from falling and protect you if you have fallen.

Causes

Accidents involving cherry pickers are usually caused by equipment malfunctions, uneven ground conditions or being hit by another vehicle. A harness and lanyard attaching you to a cherry picker can't save you if the picker tips over. You should be trained to safely operate your equipment and make sure you're operating it in a safe area. Using slow speeds and caution when moving or turning, especially when you're high in the air, can prevent accidents.

Prevention/Solution

If you need a cherry picker for work at your home and you haven't been trained to use one, it's safer to hire the equipment and a trained operator. Equipment comes with many different safety features so that someone trained to use a particular piece of equipment is better able to use safety features to diagnose problems and prevent injury.

Features

Safety features on cherry pickers include extendable supports called outriggers for more stability. Safety arms that extend from the platform base can keep cherry pickers from tipping if they hit potholes. A descent valve can help you lower the picker if it loses power while you're in the air.

Potential

Cherry pickers have warning lights or alarms to let you know when they are off-balance. Some have automatic shut-off for unsafe conditions, such as high winds and uneven ground. Experienced operators can recognise and correct the centre of balance before tipping occurs, with the help of the alarms and lights.

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