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Man cages when used in conjunction with lift trucks

According to the Health and Safety Executives guidance note PM28, there are restrictions on the circumstances in which non-integrated working platforms can be used.

Forklift trucks are primarily intended for lifting materials and not people. However, they can be used with working platforms to allow people to work at height in exceptional circumstances only, and if those in the cage are wearing a harness. They should never be used for routine work. For example, if you wish to change electrical fittings, this should be considered routine operations. If, however a roof panel has blown off in high wind, that would be considered non-routine.

Telescopic handlers should not be used in conjunction with a man cage, unless they have had the tilt facility immobilised, and never over 6m above the ground, they should also have been LOLER tested within 6 months. All forklifts using a man cage must be LOLER tested every 6 months, not annually as is usual.

This occasional use is allowed in the UK but may not be allowed in some other EU member states and as such, there is no free movement of non-integrated working platforms throughout the EU and they must not be CE marked.
There is a variety of alternative equipment available for working at height, including scaffolding, tower scaffolds, mobile elevating working platforms (MEWPs), staircases, platforms and portable ladders. The selection and use of an appropriate and suitable method of access will depend on the nature of the task to be carried out, the frequency of occurrence, the duration of the work and the availability of equipment.

At present there is not an approved course for the use of the man platform (non-integrated) on a fork lift, although the guidance does state that those operating the equipment must have received adequate training. Those operating the lift truck should hold a current operators certificate.

People expected to work on platforms and the truck operators must be aware of the restricted uses given in paragraphs 13 and 14 of guidance note PM28, they must be properly trained and given full instructions on safe systems of working with platforms, including what to do in the event of an emergency and the dangers associated with leaning out of the working platform.

For more information and a copy of the Health and safety Guidance PM 28 go to http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/pm28.htm