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Common Types of Personnel Platforms (Man Baskets)

Common Types of Personnel Platforms (Man Baskets)

Very few maintenance and construction jobs lack the requirement for personnel to access out-of-reach areas safely. From home construction and power poll repairs to cell phone tower maintenance, workers, tools, and other supplies need to be lifted safely for work to occur. But different jobs require different tools, and lifting personnel is no exception.

Common Types of Personnel Platforms

Personnel platforms go by a couple of different names, including man baskets or suspended platforms. Whatever you call them, these specialized lifts are often essential on more extensive construction or demolition job sites. They allow for the safe transport of personnel to high work locations when ladders and scaffolds aren’t up to the task.

There are two broad categories of personnel platforms, boom attached and suspended. Both come with different uses, pros, and cons. When deciding which is appropriate for your job site, consider the particular layout of the job site, work being done potentially from the platform, and height requirements.

Maneuverability around the site's obstructions, lift loads, and the general height will be the most significant deciding factors for the type of lift required. A forty-foot lift height might need a crane capable of fifty or more depending on the horizontal distance from the equipment base.

Boom Attached Personnel Platforms

The personnel platform you will see most commonly used is likely boom attached. The platform or man basket is connected directly to the boom or lift arm for these lifting devices. 

The truck-mounted variety is the most frequently seen type of this aerial device for most individuals. Think of the “bucket truck” you see employed during work on power lines. 

They also come in a wider variety of sizes and configurations and include:

  • Telescopic lifts like the telehandler have the best vertical and horizontal reach of the boom lifts.
  • Articulating lifts, frequently referred to as cherry pickers, provide increased maneuverability. However, a much higher operational learning curve and reset time offset this increase.
  • Scissor lifts are the most stable but least maneuverable of the bunch. A good choice if the worksite allows for a near-vertical lift that doesn’t need to be too high.

Suspended Personnel Platforms

The second broad category of lifted personnel platforms is the suspended variety. Just like it sounds, this involves the man basket or similar personnel platform hanging from the tip of an existing crane. 

Using a suspended basket can give a number of advantages over boom attached platforms, including:

  • Provides a superior height advantage limited only by the reach of the existing crane rental.
  • Easier maneuvering of the personnel platform around site obstacles and hazards into tight or hard-to-reach locations.
  • The use of existing site cranes lowers rental costs, reduces the amount of heavy machinery on the ground, and limits potential delays due to equipment delivery.

Suspended personnel platforms lend themselves to use in the construction of large buildings and telecommunication projects like cell tower maintenance and removal. But this greater diversity of use comes with an increased need for properly maintained equipment, personnel training, and adherence to safety procedures.

Safety and Use

We briefly mentioned it earlier, but using cranes to transport personnel to a higher section of a construction site should only be performed when conventional means of access are not safe or practical themselves. If you can reasonably use ladders, scaffolding, stairs, or a dedicated personnel lift, use of a crane suspended platform is prohibited.

Care needs to be taken to address safety concerns during any lift. Following good procedure is essential whenever a crane is in use on a job site and even more critical when lifting personnel. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides clear guidelines on when using crane lifts is appropriate and the required safety steps for doing so.

A few of the OSHA regulations to keep in mind are:

  • Crane equipment must be on firm, stable ground within one degree of level, with all outriggers extended and locked.
  • The total load, including personnel, platform, and all rigging equipment, must not exceed fifty percent of the equipment's rated capacity.
  • Cranes used to lift personnel must be fitted with a number of additional safety devices such as angle indicators visible to the operator, hoist limiting devices, and systems to control load lowering.
  • The personnel platform must always stay within ten degrees of level, have sufficient guard rails, enough room for personnel to stand fully upright, and any gates or doors should swing inward.

The complete list of safety measures is extensive. Whether you are providing the crane yourself or relying on a rental company, it is essential that all personnel are qualified to operate the machine, lifted personnel are familiar with standard hand signals, and that equipment is properly maintained and implemented.

Professional Crane Rental and Personnel Lifting

Having the right equipment, backed with experience and support, can make your job worlds easier and safer. If you are looking for a safe and reliable crane rental service in North or South Carolina, Parker’s Crane Service has you covered. We provide the highest quality crane rental, rigging, and heavy hauling you will find. 

We have been in the business for over forty years and go the extra mile for our customers. When you rent through us, you can rest easy knowing our OSHA and MSHA compliant safety programs, risk management, maintenance, and trained personnel will get the job done. 

Our services include:

  • CCO Operators, Riggers, and Signal Persons
  • Daily Lift Plans
  • 24 Hour Emergency Service
  • Crane Erection and Dismantling Crews

With our free on-site quotes and evaluations, don’t hesitate to contact us today to discuss your job's needed services and equipment. We look forward to helping you complete your project.