Before you consider operating a MEWP on ground that may not be familiar to you, bear in mind the following points:
- Always walk the intended MEWP route first and look at the ground for any obvious hazards.
- If available, refer to plans and drawings to get an idea of what lies below the ground.
- Always perform pre-use and function checks and confirm that the emergency lowering controls work before using a MEWP.
- When setting up or positioning any MEWP, before you climb into the platform always raise the platform by using the ground controls to further check stability.
- Periodically check ground conditions for any signs of disturbance or sinking.
- When required lay trackway to move and position a machine on site to avoid damaging the ground or when you are unsure of the ground conditions.
- Do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended platform load or safe working envelope.
- Always take into account the weight of the machine, particularly if you are operating a larger MEWP. For example if you are using the Genie SX-180, the ground has to be able to support the weight of a 25 tonne machine and in some cases high point loads over one wheel, stabiliser or outrigger.
- The surface area of the point of contact of a tyre on a MEWP is relatively small and consequently may generate high pressures. It is therefore essential that an assessment of the ground conditions taking into consideration the manufacturer’s floor/point loads is carried out before operating a MEWP on any surface.
- The person in control of the site should supply relevant information about the ground bearing capacity, terrain, gradient, base area, load bearing capability of supporting structures and any localised ground features, such as trenches, manholes and uncompacted backfill, which could lead to MEWP instability.
- If you have any doubts about ground conditions, always stop and seek advice from your supervisor.
If you would like to know more about ground conditions, contact us on 0330 3116661 to find out about the courses we offer that cover this important subject.