How to use a Forklift Cage Safely

HOW TO USE A FORKLIFT CAGE SAFELY

INTRODUCTION

Forklift safety cages, also known as non integrated working platforms or man baskets can be used to accomplish many different tasks in a warehouse or industrial site and can accommodate single or multiple workers, depending on what type it is and the work it is intended for. When just using a ladder isn't enough and scaffolding is too time-consuming, this may be the solution for you to prevent workers from using precarious methods when working at height.

In this piece, I will be outlining the possible ways you can use a forklift safety cage, with an emphasis on safety and what features to look out for.

WHY DO YOU NEED A FORKLIFT SAFETY CAGE?

There is a wide variety of applications for safety cages with so many types of baskets used for different jobs. Knowing the uses and safety procedures for each is essential for making informed purchasing decisions and proper implementation once your basket arrives at your facility or work site.

Generally, they’re not be be used for extended periods of time. They are designed to be a temporary solution to accessing high places for reaching or repair work.

Quite often there are times where lifting personnel without using a crane is necessary- that's when these forklift cages are perfect for the job. The safety of personnel is the utmost priority as working at height is high risk.

SOME TYPICAL USES FOR FORKLIFT SAFETY CAGES IN TEMPORARY CIRCUMSTANCES INCLUDE:

  • Farm work
  • Warehouse picking
  • Construction

  • Maintenance, repair, and cleaning of large machinery

  • Inspection of buildings and structures

  • Replacing high ceiling lights


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WHAT TO BE AWARE OF BEFORE BUYING

The main features that differentiates each basket is the capacity or the number of people that can use it. Keep in mind that the maximum capacity includes both the weight of the people, the safety equipment and the tools being used. There can also be different methods of entry, through a font gate, side gate, or with a bar that lifts up.

Some important features to look out for:

  • Risk assessed and conforms to HSE guidance note PM28

  • Number of people it can accommodate

  • Grilled mesh back guards to protect fingers and limbs

  • Auto locking safety gates (they automatically lock when the platform is raised)

  • Non-slip floors with drain holes to prevent water collecting

  • A kick rail along the bottom to prevent tools from falling out

  • Safety hand rails and safety harness anchorage

  • Safe securement to the forklift

  • The maximum fork size and fork spread

  • That the platform is compatible with the truck


The hydraulic system of your forklift needs to be designed so that, in an emergency, the lifting mechanism will not drop faster than 135 feet per minute.

 

WHAT ARE THE HAZARDS OF A FORKLIFT SAFETY CAGE?

Although these cages are suited for tasks such as maintenance, it is not acceptable to use them routinely. They should not be used on a regular basis for the same job because these cages do not provide as much specialist safety features as purpose-built machinery.

Usually,  these non-integrated work platforms should only be used if other methods such as ladders or scaffolds are not available,

When inside a forklift safety cage, workers may be at risk of:

  • contact with electrical power lines

  • contact with unguarded moving parts of the forklift

  • contact with obstructions such as shelving or racks

  • being unstable in hazardous weather

  • falling off due to not following safety procedure

  • being injured if the operator moves the truck suddenly

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HOW DO YOU USE A MAN BASKET SAFELY?

The most important thing about using one is to ensure that everybody involved in its operation are adequately trained how to use the equipment and knowing what to do if there is an emergency .

There needs to be clear communication between the operator of the forklift and the worker that will be in the cage. Coordinating with hand signals is the best way of accomplishing this. While each individual worker must concentrate on their own procedures for working safely, its essential that they look out for the other person and ensure that they are adhering to the regulations.

Forklift operators:

  • They must be trained in forklift operations or be under supervision of an instructor

  • Do not operate unless all safety features are properly working

  • Ensure the area is cleared and cordoned off with warning barriers, lights, or signs.

  • When a worker is elevated the cage, do not move the truck, this could lead to unnecessary danger

  • Always perform a trial lift, and make sure the person being lifted can safely reach whatever they're working on

  • Have overhead protection from falling objects

  • The mast must always stay vertical and the platform horizontal and centered

  • The use of the tilt and sideshift controls must be locked while in use

  • Do not let anything obstruct the fall-arresting system used by the person in the basket

  • Stay at the controls at all times while in use- never leave someone in the safety cage unattended

  • Make sure nobody climbs on any part of the forklift

Workers in the safety cage:

  • Make sure that the truck is on a firm flat surface before entering, and the cage is equipped with guardrails

  • Ensure that the forklift operator is moving smoothly and safely

  • Protective equipment should be supplied, hard hat, gloves, steel toe-capped boots, high-visibility clothing, and a harness or lanyard

  • Do not use stand or climb on anything else while inside the safety cage in order to reach higher

  • Never stand on the rails or lean out of the cage without a harness or lanyard when elevated

  • Keep the cage free from clutter, only have necessary items

  • Always enter the cage only from floor level

Safety checks should be carried out by a trained person and the equipment should be regularly inspected and maintained so that it is in full working order.

It also makes things easier if you attach signage to the cage showing which forklift trucks it can be used with.

 

CONCLUSION

Providing more stability and convenience than other methods of working at height, a safety cage is an essential piece of equipment if you already own a forklift. Although its convenient, proper training of operators and certification of equipment is essential if you want to make the most out of safety cages. In our store we have a variety of forklift safety cages and can guarantee that they are all PM28 compliant, are CE Marked and are fully tested and certified to comply with latest health and safety regulations . They are manufactured to securely fit to the forks of a forklift truck, so you can carry out emergency working at height duties in a safe and risk free manner. Check out our range of Forklift Safety Cages here.