Talk to Horizon Platforms about food processing MEWP hire

By Rory Duggan, Sales Director

Despite recent reductions, falling from height remains one of the most common causes of accidents in the food and drink manufacturing industry.  Maintenance and cleaning tasks account for some of the highest risk activities in food factories, but if work is properly planned and supervised and mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) are used correctly by trained, competent operators, they can offer huge advantages to people working in the food industry.

Work at height platforms enable:

  • safe access to hard-to-reach places, reducing the risk of injury and falls while carrying out essential cleaning and maintenance tasks on food industry machines
  • operators to work at height for longer
  • a range of tools and equipment to be carried on the platform rather than the person
  • work at a variety of different heights, from mid-level conveyor belts to full height ceilings
  • jobs to be carried out quickly – particularly important in chilled food environments


Small, safe, clean machines
Work at height covers all tasks where people could fall and injure themselves if precautions weren’t taken. In the food industry, that includes everything from cleaning silos and disinfecting vats to carrying out ceiling repairs and clearing blockages.

Wherever possible, preventative maintenance and routine cleaning of food processing machinery should be scheduled in advance and carried out regularly to avoid problems arising in the first place; pre-arranging a factory supply of MEWPs is a great way to keep costs down, reduce downtime, ensure all operators are fully briefed and trained and all necessary equipment and tools are on hand.


Flexible hire periods
Inevitably, some reactive work such as emergency repairs will be needed, and our flexible food processing MEWP hire periods mean you can hire a platform from a single day to long term contracts. There’s also an option to buy your own machines if that suits you better. Choose from:

You can spread the cost with a range of finance options and make sure your machines are in full working order with our platform maintenance contracts. Whether you decide to hire or buy from us, our platforms will ensure you achieve the standards of quality, safety and hygiene you and your customers expect.


Advice and machines on tap
We have a large fleet of lean machines ideal for clean environments and small spaces. Before we recommend the best platform for your job, our experts will come to you to carry out a site survey, free of charge and with no obligation. That way, we can see your working environment first hand before we recommend the best kit for the job. The most popular platforms for indoor use in food manufacturing and processing include:

  • Electric scissor lifts: providing straight up access, these lifts are available in a range of widths and platform sizes; electric/battery powered models can carry multiple operators
  • Personnel lifts: a great choice for straight up access in ultra-narrow spaces, personnel lifts have zero tail swing and allow you to get into nooks and crannies. These battery-powered machines are suitable for use by one operator.
  • Boom lifts: battery and bi energy for up and over access, making them a great choice for cleaning high and mid-level food factory machinery such as conveyor belts. Some models can reach up to 30m.

We also offer a range of larger diesel-powered machines for outdoor use such as cleaning and maintaining silos and carrying out roofing and gutter repairs.

We own a fleet of delivery trucks, so prompt transport of your chosen platforms to and from your site is fast and efficient. What’s more, all our delivery drivers are qualified IPAF demonstrators who can give you a refresher demo when they arrive on site with your platform.


Key features of MEWPs for use in the food industry include:

  • Indoor-only use
  • Compact: fit through a standard doorway
  • Reach heights of 5 – 30m
  • Battery/electric powered: perfect for extended running time
  • Narrow aisle and ultra-narrow aisle models
  • Clean: fleet dedicated to food industry use
  • Quiet: food factories can be noisy environments; we won’t add to it
  • Manoeuvrable
  • Zero tail swing
  • Versatile: straight up only or up and over an obstacle
  • Non-marking tyres

A range of accessories are also available – from wheel covers to nappies/drip trays – and platforms can be tailored for use in non-standard environments such as cold stores where synthetic oil and gel batteries are recommended for operation below -20°C temperatures.


Our top platforms for food manufacturers
Here are my recommendations for the best platforms for work at height in the food processing and manufacturing industry:

  • Genie 1930 battery scissor lift: a food industry favourite, this compact, versatile platform has a two-person capacity
  • JLG 1930 battery scissor lift: boasts extended battery cycle time from one charge
  • Skyjack SJ12 personnel lift: ultra-lightweight, perfect for mezzanine floors and goods lifts
  • Genie 40/47 battery scissor lift: 14m lift height and fits through double doors
  • Genie 30/20 narrow battery boom lift: just 1.2m wide with zero tail swing, this is perfect for narrow aisles
  • Niftylift HR17 bi-energy narrow boom lift: versatile machine with small base ideal for narrow spaces; reaches up to 17m with horizontal outreach of 9m up and over machinery
  • Niftylift HR15 bi-energy narrow boom lift: only 1.5m wide 15m working height
  • Star 10 narrow boom lift: compact and slim boom only 0.99m wide
  • JLG Toucan 10E: compact boom only 0.99m wide
  • Genie GR15 personnel lift: lightweight, compact and fits through a single door
  • Skyjack SJ16 personnel lift: lightweight, compact and fits through a single door
  • JLG M450 AJ boom lift: reaches heights of 15m; bi-energy feature allows rapid re-charge of battery for indoor use via diesel power for external use
  • Genie GS 3232 ultra-narrow battery scissor lift: max vertical reach and fits through a single door.


Contact us
To discuss food processing MEWP hire, call our experts today

Food processing MEWP hire – a recipe for success

By Rory Duggan, Sales Director

Working at height in the food processing industry comes with additional demands over and above those found in a non-food environment: the risk of contamination is ever-present, inevitable spills of liquids, fats and food products bring increased dangers from slippery surfaces, and the need to operate in a hygienic, germ-free environment at all times is a must.

Maintaining a spotless environment demands more frequent work at height tasks such as regular cleaning and maintenance of food processing equipment including heaters and coolers as well as internal surfaces such as ceilings and walls. Hiring the right MEWP and safety accessories for your food processing factory and being properly trained in their correct use is key to ensuring accidents and health and safety breaches are kept to an absolute minimum.


Clean machines for a clean environment
Clean, well maintained work at height platforms are a top priority for food processors and manufacturers. Food industry machines and equipment must be in excellent working order to comply with rigorous food hygiene standards.

The food processing MEWP hire experts at Horizon Platforms have extensive experience advising and supplying well-known food manufacturers throughout the UK. We understand the particular needs of the sector and have a fleet of platforms which are perfectly suited for use in food environments, as well as a choice of specialist accessories such as wheel covers, nappies and drip trays designed to reduce the risk of contamination and cross-contamination.

Our machines are clean, quiet and versatile, allowing operators to clean and disinfect a broad range of food factory equipment efficiently and safely. Our food processing MEWPs enable maintenance and other essential tasks to be carried out quickly and easily, and with a choice of machine sizes available, you can hire platforms for use by one person or multiple users at the same time.


Assessing the risks
The need for high levels of hygiene apply whether you are processing raw food for shops and supermarkets or manufacturing prepared food, so well-planned cleaning and maintenance regimes are essential. When you are carrying out this type of work at height, the law states that all work must be properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people.

Horizon’s experts can carry out a site survey – free of charge and with no obligation – to assess your work at height equipment needs and recommend the best food processing MEWP hire options. If you need access to areas positioned above food processing machinery and production lines, you will need a narrow aisle platform with zero tail swing and maximum horizontal outreach capacity, in which case our range of electric boom lifts are a great choice. Our experience in the food industry means our hire experts know the right questions to ask and can offer technical advice and bespoke solutions. For example, if you’re working in a cold store, we’d recommend using an electric scissor lift with gel batteries in temperatures below 20°C.

All our machines and equipment for use in the food industry are only ever used in clean environments and are thoroughly inspected before every hire to ensure they are both immaculate and provide the safest working environment for your employees.


Safety training
Our IPAF trainers will ensure you are properly trained so you can stay safe and get the best from your platform. We offer a range of courses from our approved IPAF training centres in Wakefield, Warrington and throughout the UK or if you prefer, we can come to you and train your team on site. Courses are available six days a week and satisfy the standards required by Health and Safety legislation and Work at Height regulations.

Call Horizon Platforms today to discuss your food processing MEWP hire needs.


Safe work at height in the food industry

By Rory Duggan, Sales Director

Food and drink manufacturing takes place in diverse environments and on very different scales – from small bakeries to large factories processing raw meat products – and whilst the day-to-day demands of each may be very different, one thing applies to everyone working in the industry: the need for safe work at height practices and equipment.


The need for food processing MEWP hire

Joint working by trade associations, employers, trade unions and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has brought about significant reductions in the number of injuries in the food [6]industry since the 1990s, but the statistics remain a cause for concern. According to the HSE, falls from height in the food and drink industries are the third highest cause of fatal injury, comprising 20% of fatal accidents. Each year, 80 major injuries result – including broken limbs and fractured skulls – with a further 230 over-3-day absence injuries each year. These figures provide evidence that employees are being placed in unnecessary danger – or are taking unnecessary risks – while employers are exposing themselves to the risk of prosecution and hefty fines, not to mention the damaging effects on a company’s productivity, morale and reputation.


Why are the figures so high?
All too often, people resort to quick and easy work-at-height solutions, putting themselves at risk in the process. The use of ladders account for 40% of all work at height accidents in the food industry, followed by falls from vehicles (17%), many due to fork lifts truck operators standing on the forks themselves or creating make-shift platforms by attaching pallets to forks.

All work at height tasks – from routine maintenance and high-level cleaning to clearing blockages, stock takes and carrying out ad hoc repairs – should only be carried out after a full risk assessment has been conducted. A risk assessment will allow you to identify likely hazards and manage risk properly to ensure corners are never cut and safety remains paramount.

By far the best work at height solution is to ‘design out’ the need to work at height in the first place, but this is usually only feasible if you are building a food factory from scratch. The next best solution is to hire a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) that meets the particular needs of food processors and manufacturers.


Training is a must
The experts at Horizon can offer advice on all your food processing MEWP hire needs, but that’s only half the story. 10% of work at height accidents in the food industry occur even when workers are using work at height platforms – that’s where training to use your platform correctly comes in. IPAF training is essential, both to get the best out of your machine and most importantly, to ensure you stay safe at height.  MEWPs are a very safe option if they are used correctly, so make sure you build training into your health and safety plan.

Our IPAF training courses were developed with leading industry professionals to make sure that you and your employees get the best training for safe at-height access. You can book a course at either of our IPAF training centres in Wakefield and Warrington, or if you prefer, we can come to you.

All our training courses conform to the international ISO quality mark and satisfy standards required by many Health and Safety legislation and Work at Height regulations. Call the team to find out more about food processing MEWP hire and training from the experts.

Rugby Youngsters Tackle the Season Head On with Horizon Sponsorship 

By Rory Duggan, Sales Director

Ready to back the next generation of aspiring rugby stars?

Everyone here at Horizon Platforms is cheering on our local under 9s team in Warrington – and we’ve put our money on them to win.

A few months ago – and with the new season about to kick off – the squad of 17 youngsters at Woolston Rovers reached out to surrounding businesses to fund their team shirts. They’d had a fantastic fundraising effort from proud parents, but were left short – a little like last year’s kit!

Horizon was raised locally so it’s always been important to us that we go above and beyond for our community. So, when the team got in touch, we wanted to do everything we could to help.

We managed to give them the lion’s share of their fund and they’re now fully kitted out with the Horizon colours on the front of their strip.

The youngsters are nearly as old as Horizon Platforms so it was a great opportunity to help them grow as we do. Training twice a week, Woolston Rovers supports the development of new skills, technique, game awareness and teamwork – the last is something we particularly value in the work we do every day.

Mark Dillon, Woolston Rovers U9s Coaching Co-Ordinator said: “Like Horizon, community underpins what we do as a club. So, growing our connections within the business community was a great way to provide local, regional and national companies a rewarding investment for their corporate social responsibilities. We found a great partner in Horizon.”

Here’s to a great season for Woolston Rovers – we’re rooting for you!

New Horizon website goes live

Take a peek at the new-look Horizon website
By Rory Duggan, Sales Director

I’m delighted to announce the launch of the new Horizon Platforms website. Please take a look around and discover some of the new features which we hope make the site as easy and enjoyable to use as possible.

Discover our extensive product information including videos and manufacturers’ guides; stay up to date with the latest Horizon developments and powered access industry news in our Knowledge Centre; use live chat to talk direct to an industry expert or share products and pages that interest you with others across Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Here are a dozen reasons why we’re excited to launch our new and improved site:

Read more “New Horizon website goes live”