Elevated Work Platforms

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When working with elevated platforms, it is important to understand that there are 2 basic types of of elevated platforms: boom and scissor. With that, both of these platforms involve on-slab and rough-terrain models.


  1. On-Slab – which is used for smooth hard surfaces such as concrete or pavement.
  2. Rough-Terrain – for use on firm level surfaces such as graded and compacted soil or gravel.

Both of these models share three major components: base, lifting mechanisms and platform assembly.


On-slab units:

  • Not designed for uneven or sloping ground.
  • Normally have solid rubber tires.
  • Generally powered by rechargeable DC battery.
  • Some powered by internal combustion engine, either gasoline or propane.
  • Most have “pothole protection”—a metal plate lowered close to the ground to afford some protection against inadvertent movement into depressions or debris.

Rough-terrain units:

  • Similar in design to on-slab machines.
  • Built to handle rigorous off-slab challenges.
  • Normally have wider wheel bases, larger wheels an pneumatic tires.
  • Some fitted with outriggers for extra stability.
  • Usually powered by internal combustion engines gasoline, diesel, or propane.
  • Lifting mechanism is hydraulic.
  • Scissor-type machines range in capacity from 500 to several thousand pounds. They are available with platform heights often reaching 15 metres (50 feet) and beyond.
  • Scissor-type machines must be set up on stable level ground, even with outriggers deployed. A slight imbalance or instability is amplified when the machine is raised.

General Safety Reminders:

  • Allow for movement or sway of the lines as well as the platform. Be aware of overhanging tools or equipment.
  • Voltage Rating of Power line Minimum Distance 750 to 150,000 volts 3 metres (10 feet) 150,001 to 250,000 volts 4.5 metres (15 feet) over 250,000 volts 6 metres (20 feet).
  • Wear a full body harness and tie off to a designated tie-off point while the machine is moving.
  • Don’t operate the equipment in windy conditions. For safe wind speeds refer to the operator’s manual for the specific make and model you are using.
  • Do not place the boom or platform against any structure to steady either the platform or the structure.
  • Secure loads and tools on the platform so that machine movement won’t dislodge them.



For more information regarding comprehensive safety training please contact the PAT Institute at 1-888-501-9272 or visit www.patinstitute.ca

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