In Australia workplace safety is continuing to improve, but incidents while working at height still remain a major cause of workplace injury and fatality. Historically, a lack of operator safety technology has exacerbated this risk, but that’s all about to change for Coates Hire customers.
As one of the largest providers of access equipment in Australia, Coates Hire is continually looking for ways to enhance its fleet, finding new and innovative ways to keep people safe. Fuelled by customer demand and its own safety culture, much of this focus is currently centred on improving operator safety for scissor lifts.
For over two years Coates Hire has been driving safety innovation for scissor lifts, researching – and more recently trialling – a range of third party and manufacturer safety systems and technologies to improve operator safety. This work follows on from previous investment into the safety of Coates Hire’s boom fleet, which now has 100% compliance with secondary operator protection.
As part of this current scissor lift safety trial, Coates Hire has explored a range of operator safety solutions including shield bars; guards; contact alarms; detection systems; height restrictors; and overhead warning systems. These trials have been in conjunction with alternative options in EWP’s, for more compact or smaller machines as well as push around mast machines.
Coates Hire believes that safety starts with the customer understanding the right equipment to safely complete the task. Once a machine has been selected it becomes about having equipment that reduces or eliminates the risks when working at height.
In trialling operator safety systems, our aim is to get a better understanding of:
How effectively these technologies can reduce operator safety risk for scissor lifts;
The cost and viability for retrofitting operator safety technology to a large and diverse fleet;
The practicality of use and impact on productivity, and
The likelihood that our customers will see value in adopting these new technologies.
“Trials are well underway, final testing will be completed soon and early in the new financial year we will begin to retrofit operator safety solutions across our entire scissor lift fleet,” says Dan Goodfellow, Coates Hire’s Group Manager – Products. “And from July 2020 onwards all of the new access equipment we bring into our fleet will have operator protection fitted.”
It’s likely that Coates Hire will be the first to market with secondary scissor lift operator protection, and first to mandate full operator protection for all new machines coming in.
What our customers want
For Coates Hire safety is about much more than just compliance – it is a driving force for the business and part of a culture that values the health, safety and wellbeing of its people and its customers. Here, safety comes first, and the same is true for many of our customers too.
“This investment is driven by and on behalf of our customers, so we’ve received great support,” says Dan. “Some of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMS) and some of our major customers have come along on this journey with us, and are watching this space very closely too.”Coates Hire is already in discussion with one major customer on delivering an operator safety optimised scissor lift fleet to support its next project. “It’s vital that the equipment we supply to our customers is safe, and that we’re meeting their needs and their demand,” says Dan. “We want our customers to have the peace of mind that their operators will have another layer of protection when they hire access equipment, and that it will help them to make safer decisions.”
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