Maintaining Health & Safety Standards When Using Cherry Pickers
Originally used in orchards to pick fruit, cherry pickers have become vital pieces of equipment within the construction industry. According to Health & Safety Training Limited, the top use for cherry pickers today is building maintenance.
It’s clear from this information that this type of equipment has greatly helped the construction industry; however, using cherry pickers for maintenance work does come with great risks. In fact, the Health and Safety Executive recorded that falls from a height were the most common cause of worker fatality in 2012/13, accounting for 31 per cent of deaths.
This doesn’t state whether the falls are actually because of cherry pickers, but from the examples of accidents below companies are taking strong precautions anyway to ensure none of their staff have any fatal injuries.
The most recent incident to reach the press was the accident involving Nicholas Chenery. In April 2014 the Royston Crow reported that Mr Chenery suffered a compound fracture to the left leg and three fractured vertebrae to his lower spine when falling from a cherry picker 12 metres high.
Mr Chenery was rigging three overhead lines at Chipping, on the A10 between Royston and Buntingford, when the security line he was fastened to was pulled over by a dumpster truck, causing him and the cherry picker to fall. Because his employer had failed to comply with HSE safety regulations, the company was fined £35,000.
That’s not the only incident to break the headlines. In 2013, Richard Jaeger-Fozard died when the cherry picker he was on came crashing down on to the M25 in Buckinghamshire. According to Highways Industry.com, the cause of the accident is unclear.
These accidents are causing great concern, especially since the government put the Work at Heights Regulations together in 2005 to stop incidents like this happening. These regulations are to ensure that work at a height is properly planned, organised and the risks of the work are accessed so the appropriate work equipment can be selected.
It’s clear from the statistics and previous accidents that not all companies are working alongside these regulations or using the correct equipment.
While it’s up to the company to make sure their employees follow and maintain these regulations, finding the right equipment couldn’t be easier. Nifty Lift offers trailer-mounted, self-propelled, self-drive, track-drive, static-base and vehicle-mounted cherry pickers, all with working heights ranging from 30ft to 96ft.
Different cherry pickers are used for different types of construction jobs; however, construction employees should all be familiar with The Engineering Construction Industry Association (ECIA) guide. This highlights health and safety precautions they must take to avoid trapping, crushing and falling injuries to people who are in the platform.
As well as this guide, a must among workers is a safety harness. There’s not a specific height that requires you to wear a safety harness; however, in construction, not wearing a safety harness is taken seriously, so seriously that employees can lose their job on the spot because of it.
Many companies in construction have stated that if employees are using cherry pickers, then using a harness as a restraint is the most suitable form of personal fall protection. This is because there’s a high risk of sudden movements, which can be caused by impact, ground movement, failure of a stability critical part, or overreaching.
Ensuring staff know how to wear this safety equipment properly is vital. If they’re unsure how to correctly wear a harness, here’s a picture from AFI Uplift, which is easy to understand.
Cortec Corporation launches Ecoshrink compostable film
Cortec Corporation believes its EcoShrink compostable film will mark another important notch in plastic-free industrial practices.
Sourced from certified commercially compostable resins and containing 45% biopolymers, the film reduces conventional plastic waste and improves users' environmental footprint. It can be used to cover large or small objects and keep dust, dirt, and moisture off warehouse stock, with wrapping from standard shrink tools. Rolls come individually boxed or in cradle packed pallets.
The construction industry is the second largest user of plastic, producing 300MT annually with 50% single use, and it accounts for around 6% of total plastic waste. Piping and conduit are the largest users of polymers in construction and consume 35% of production.
The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products champions sustainable practices. "Wherever possible the use of plastic products in construction should be confined to specialist high value, low volume application areas such as binders, seals, tapes, gaskets and services," it recommends.
ASBP’s technical associate Katherine Adams will join over 50 experts to take part in one of four new task groups which will support the development of the Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap for the Built Environment. It has devised an interactive guide on plastics in construction and identified four key consumption and disposal issues:
- Polyvinylchloride (PVC) makes up nearly 52% (910,000 tonnes), with around 25% landfilled
- High-density polyethylene (HDPE) makes up nearly 13% (225,000 tonnes), with around 27% landfilled
- Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is 8% (140,000 tonnes), with 32% landfilled
- Polypropylene (PP) is 7.4% (130,000 tonnes), with 27% landfilled
Biodegradable plastics have been advertised as one solution to the plastic pollution problem but today’s “compostable” plastic bags, utensils and cup lids don’t break down during typical composting and contaminate other recyclable plastics, creating headaches for recyclers. Most compostable plastics, made primarily of the polyester known as polylactic acid, or PLA, end up in landfills and last as long as forever plastics.
University of California, Berkeley scientists claims to have invented a way to make compostable plastics break down more easily, with just heat and water, within a few weeks, solving a problem that has flummoxed the plastics industry and environmentalists.
“People are now prepared to move into biodegradable polymers for single-use plastics, but if it turns out that it creates more problems than it’s worth, then the policy might revert back,” said Ting Xu, UC Berkeley professor of materials science and engineering and of chemistry. “We are basically saying that we are on the right track. We can solve this continuing problem of single-use plastics not being biodegradable.”
Stakeholders from the organics recycling and sustainable materials communities have launched the US Composting Infrastructure Coalition to support innovative and responsible waste reduction and recovery solutions like composting. The Coalition believes composting serves as an opportunity to address key environmental challenges and deliver positive economic impacts to people and communities.