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Selecting an Aerial Lift For Your Job

selecting an aerial lift

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All too often selecting and aerial lift is based on guesses, the model used in a previous application or what’s currently available in a dealership’s rental or used fleet. When you have the wrong equipment, operators are tempted to find production solutions that compromise safety.

Thinking of your previous aerial lift selection, what factors were considered before approving the order?

Evaluate the Aerial Lift Work Site

Aerial lifts come in a variety of models, confirming one piece of equipment will not effectively accomplish every job. Therefore, you must “spec” the work site by looking at the application. Tony Jones, ProLift Trainer, shares “When I work with a customer to select the best aerial lift to rent, I ensure it not only has the proper reach but that it can make its way from the delivery truck to the work site. I look for aisle-ways, elevators, slopes, rough surfaces, turning radius and access to power sources. Other important factors are the size and weight of the aerial lift loads and how the equipment will be used.”

Take Facility Measurements

Use tools such as a tape measure or ultrasonic distance meter to measure aisle-way width and height of doorways the aerial lift will pass through. “Without tools, I’ve been able to acquire measurements by counting cinder blocks from the floor to the ceiling. A typical cinder block is 8” tall with a mortar joint. By counting the rows of brick and multiplying by 8”, I can estimate an accurate height,” states Tony.

Another measure to confirm is up and over reach. The majority of scissor lifts have a 3’ (or larger) deck extension that allows the machine to drive up to and lift above the structure, roll the deck extension out and achieve up and over reach. An articulated boom lift, having more than one elevated boom section, refers to pivotal height. This spec tells us at what elevated height an operator can pivot over an obstruction.

Aerial Lift Platform Height versus Working Height

Because manufacturer information may vary, ensure your operators understand the calculations of aerial lift platform height versus working height. Platform height defines the maximum height the aerial lift puts an operator’s feet. Working height is 6’ above the platform height. Most scissor lifts detail the width and maximum platform height in the model number. Boom lift models may share platform height and horizontal reach.

Other aerial lift variables to consider:

  • Fuel type – Most batteries are designed to give approximately 4 hours run time. When fully discharged, the batteries will require 8 hours charging time. If you have a multi-shift operation, consider another fuel type such as LP.
  • Floor surface – Be aware of slopes or inclines the aerial lift will be required to ascend or descend. Gradeability ratings can be found on an equipment spec sheet. Also consider the floor surface and research if it can support the weight of the lift.
  • Lift capacities – Aerial lifts rate lift capacities in two ways – weight of persons, tools and materials and the maximum number of persons allowed in the platform. Neither rating should be exceeded.

Not having the right aerial lift for the job increases the likelihood of an accident. Work with our equipment specialists to know what works best for your application. 

Contact Equipment Specialist

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