The Case Against Ladders and Scaffolds Low-level Lifts Prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Safer, More Efficient and Profitable
By Justin Kissinger, Marketing Manager, Hy-Brid Lifts™
Falls are the 3rd leading cause of workplace injuries. Low-level scissor lifts offer a safe, efficient alternative to ladders and scaffolding.
No contractor ever wants to hear the word ‘inefficient’ yet so many continue to face inefficiencies daily, and two of the biggest culprits are ladders and scaffolds. Between the bulkiness of scaffolds and the time-consuming ‘up and down’ on ladders there’s little room for optimizing productivity and profits.
These tools might be inexpensive quick-fixes to reaching elevated work, but they can put contractors at risk for injuries and cost thousands in worker’s compensation claims. Low-level lifts are the most efficient and safest alternative.
Not many jobs are concentrated to one area. Often they require moving all over the jobsite and, when using ladders and scaffolds, that means a lot of up and down and reassembly. Being able to quickly move and work within the jobsite determines whether laborers complete a job ahead of schedule or on time; and the right piece of equipment is key.
Low-level lifts, whether push-around, electrically driven or hydraulically driven, virtually eliminate extra work associated with assembling and moving ladders and scaffolds. They allow contractors to move around the site and work more quickly. Lifts also are relatively spacious and hold a generous amount of weight, so users can load them up with plenty of materials and tools.
In addition to platform space, lifts also include slide-out extensions, so contractors can reach work up and over obstacles, such as stair railings, where ladders and scaffolds can’t access without putting laborers in tough — and sometimes dangerous — situations.
Low-level lifts are the optimal choice when it comes to efficiency on the jobsite. But there are units that take efficiency even further with quick scissor-lifting capabilities. Some push-around models take just 9 seconds to reach an 11-foot working height, while taller electrically-driven lifts reach 20-foot working heights in as little as 15 seconds. This shaves time off the production schedule, widening profit margins.
Between materials, tools and people, jobsites can get cramped, which is often why contractors choose ladders and scaffolds for the work. However, low-level lifts with compact footprints can easily work in these same confined areas. They can fit through narrow doorframes and even inside elevators. Some lifts also feature a zero-turn radius for easy navigation around corners, through hallways, and under overhead fixtures and support beams.
A Weighted Decision
When using ladders and scaffolds, climbing up and down to gather materials multiple times on a job is virtually a guarantee. Lifts, on the other hand, nearly eliminate this hassle altogether.
Some low-level lifts can hold as much as 750 pounds, so contractors can use them for sheetrock and electrical work, where heavy drywall, wire spools and two laborers may be needed.
Some lifts also have dual front wheels that help distribute weight and provide a low wheel load so contractors can move safely across delicate surfaces, including tile and stone floors, without damage. One 670-pound capacity model, for example, has a 113.6-psi max wheel load, so users can move across newly laid flooring or green concrete.
Claim Your Safety
When it comes to safety, lifts are by far the superior choice as they offer many safety benefits over ladders and scaffolds. With greater safety comes less risk of injuries and workers’ compensation claims, as well as reduced costs associated with training new employees to replace injured operators.
According to 2014 data from Liberty Mutual’s 2017 Workplace Safety Index, workplace falls, both to the same level and a level below, led to a combined $16.12 billion in direct costs to businesses. In fact, these types of injuries land right behind overexertion, the number one cause of workplace injuries. These costs from injuries directly impact profits and result in expensive downtime.
Instability, overexertion and operator fatigue happen often on ladders and scaffolds and all increase the risk of falls. Low-level lifts, by nature, go a long way toward minimizing these ailments. And with ergonomic features, such as low step-in heights and full swing gates, they go the distance in enhancing operator comfort and performance. Users can hold materials and tools while simply pushing full-swing gates inward as they step up and onto the lift’s platform. Fewer and lower steps — as low as 20 inches — minimize the risk of overexertion and decrease the chance of
tripping and falling versus climbing metal scaffolds or an unstable ladder.
Stability is also key to enhancing safety for work-at-height projects, and when workers feel more stable at elevated heights they feel safer and more confident to work faster. Robust scissor stacks with oversized pins provide that stability.
Enhancing the safety of others below work-at-height projects is also important. In addition to fully-enclosed railings, many low-level lifts incorporate toeboards around the platform, which protect people below from falling materials.
For more information visit: Hy-Brid Lifts™