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:
- Short-term hire: platforms for those last-minute repairs or unplanned jobs
- Contract hire: a cost-effective option for long-term hire from 12 – 60 months. There is no capital outlay, machine hire is 100% tax deductible, you’ll get a new platform and all service & LOLER inspections are included
- Platforms to buy: quality new and used platforms from the world’s leading manufacturers including Genie, Haulotte, Holland Lift, JLG, Niftylift, and Skyjack.
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
- 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.
To discuss food processing MEWP hire, call our experts today