Mast Climber Regulation and Training

Words: Dan KamysJanuary 2015

Mast Climbers, Cranes and Telehandlers

mast climber

The mast climber industry has been working hard to update committee focus and standards development, always mindful of the increased potential for accidents in the period immediately following a long and hard recession.

Sony Trudel, assistant director of engineering at Hydro Mobile, is the chairman of both the Canadian Standards Association’s B354.5 and B354.6 Committees. The standards, respectively, for Mast Climbing Work Platforms and Transport Platforms are being produced in three parts, Training, Safe Use, and Design, and this format corresponds with the new format of the ANSI standards in the United States for the products.

Trudel confirms that work is moving ahead at great speed on the new standards: “We have a committed group, and the pace of development is fantastic. When you have a group of experts who know the industry as well as these guys do, you get excellent results. The standards are on target for release at the end of 2015.”

The ANSI standards for mast climbers and transport platforms, A92.9 and A92.10, both chaired by Greg Janda from Alimak Hek, are following the same format in their re-drafting process, which is ongoing.

“This is good news for manufacturers, rental companies and users, because compliance criteria in the U.S. and Canada will almost be identical, and in the same format, streamlining ownership and use responsibilities and procedures in North America,” Trudel says.

The International Powered Access Federation has made some important changes to its focus on the mast climber industry. Members of the mast climbing industry agreed on a new constitution for the International Mast Climber Committee. The new committee, truly international in its makeup is made up of members from seven countries: Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, United States, Uruguay, Italy and Switzerland.

The scope of the committee was agreed as:

  • Develop best practice guidance for the MCWP industry
  • Represent the IPAF MCWP industry in government level discussions
  • Encourage technical efficiency
  • Encourage the highest standards of safety and good working practice
  • To provide for co-operation between all members in the discussion of common problems

The committee re-elected Kevin O’Shea, director of safety and training at Hydro Mobile, as chairman, and Adrian Bolton, construction sales manager – Western Europe at Alimak Hek, as deputy chairman for the next two years.

O’Shea identified three safety-related safety campaigns, which have been selected based on a number of accidents and near-misses experienced in the industry in the last two to three years.

AEM Releases Crane Safety Video, Updated Manual

A new live-action Crane Safety Video and extensively revised Crane Safety Manual from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) offer machine operators a well-rounded look at current industry best practices, including U.S. OSHA 1926:1400 crane standard requirements. The AEM video and manual reflect changes in the crane industry and OSHA crane standards over the last decade, since AEM produced its original crane safety manual, and a predecessor animated video. The live-action format of the DVD-video, and the manual generously illustrated with the latest AEM pictorials, offer a convenient learning/reference program for the industry today. AEM developed the crane safety video and manual together to complement and reinforce their safety messaging. Crane industry experts working through AEM’s Crane Technical Committee (CTC) provided content development and review. Certified trainers from the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) demonstrated best practices in the DVD-video. The video and manual outline tips on how to:
  • Avoid accidents and create a safe construction site
  • Prepare the machine for operation and reduce repair costs
  • Prepare the construction site for safe crane operation
AEM safety manuals and videos are industry-consensus safety documents written in clear language presented in an easy-to-follow format. They are a convenient and cost-effective way to provide safety information to operators. (AEM safety materials are not a substitute for manufacturer materials.) All AEM safety manuals, videos and related safety and training products are available online through the AEM Store, http://shop.aem.org. AEM safety materials offer a high-value, economical way to deliver safety messaging. Some safety materials are available in downloadable files or in DVD format. AEM members receive discounts on select materials. For more information, contact AEM’s Bobby Hoffmann, rhoffmann@aem.org or 414-298-4105.

Load management

Operators clearly aren’t aware of the load carrying ability of the mast climbers they happen to be working from, based on the experience of committee members. Operators need to be aware of point load restrictions, eccentric load restrictions, uniformly distributed load capability and the need to know the weight of whatever they are loading onto the platform.

Fall protection

There have been a number of accidents caused by guardrail removal, insubstantial planking and the presence of trip hazards on the platform. Operators need to be aware of all fall protection issues in the platform, and need to be trained in the use, maintenance and inspection of any required fall protection equipment required on the platform.

Inspections

Equipment owners are mostly unaware of all the inspection requirements placed upon them. Daily, frequent and annual inspections are required, with the relevant documentation and record-keeping requirements, and those who conduct the inspections must be qualified to carry them out.

Used equipment

Additionally, at the AWPT Conference in Toronto in October, O’Shea outlined plans to provide advice to those buying used equipment. “Potential buyers of used equipment need to ask themselves a number of questions before they buy. Used equipment lies in between new equipment and equipment which is unfit for use. Is the buyer qualified to decide if a piece of equipment is ‘fit for use?’”

Buyers should develop a list of questions, which will indicate if a piece of equipment is ‘fit for use,’ some areas for consideration should be:

  • Does the unit(s) have a current annual inspection, and is there evidence that it was done by a qualified person?
  • Is there a service history file?
  • Has the equipment had any major fabrication work, and was it done by a qualified person? Get the serial numbers and check with the manufacturer for any history.

Highlighting inspection, load management, and fall protection, and bringing further focus to operator training should increase awareness on vital issues as the market improves. If we can increase awareness, harmonize standards, train more operators and increase awareness of the benefits of MCWP ownership and use, our industry will hopefully see the benefit.

Mustang 250Z Compact ExcavatorThe Mustang 250Z compact excavator incorporates features that enhance productivity, operator comfort, efficiency and cost savings on the jobsite. The excavator brings eight inches deeper dig depth and 8.3 inches additional reach at ground level, compared to the previous model, the 270Z.The new 250Z is equipped with a 20.4 hp electronically controlled Yanmar Tier IV emissions-certified diesel engine. No engine regeneration is required on the 250Z, reducing downtime on the jobsite. Low exhaust position on the machine reduces noise, increases safety and improves visibility.Cold-weather starting is easy with an electric glow plug starting aid, reducing the need for block heaters or starting fluid. The operator’s station on the 250Z compact excavator is built for optimal productivity and controllability. Joystick controls, operated by simple wrist movements, reduce fatigue during a long work day. The controls on the 250Z include a proportional auxiliary hydraulic rocker switch with detent on the joystick. This allows the operator to adjust the hydraulic flow for precise attachment performance, while keeping his hands on the joysticks.The operator can select standard ISO or an optional backhoe control pattern with a turn of a mechanical lever. The two-position, high-speed travel switch is conveniently integrated in the blade control lever for easy accessibility. A digital operator interface features an hour meter and clock, recordable maintenance history with adjustable time intervals and reminders, fluid levels, fluid temperature, and more. Machine hours can be reviewed for the past 90 days without starting the engine. Multiple language selections are also available. The operator’s compartment is designed with comfort in mind. A four-way adjustable seat offers custom height, weight and backrest positions with a retractable belt. Elevated, folding travel pedals allow for additional foot room when performing stationary work. An optional cab enclosure with heat provides comfort and protection in extreme weather conditions. Auxiliary hydraulic flow rate up to 13.6 gpm, paired with high system pressure up to 2,987 psi, deliver more hydraulic muscle to power demanding attachments and deliver superior digging and breakout forces. The two-way and one-way auxiliary flow valve allows for direct-to-tank bypass, while return flow selection is standard equipment. Two variable and two gear pumps bring simultaneous operation without loss of power. Additional product information is available at www.mustangmfg.com.

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