Solution Summary: Portable Lift Platform
A portable lift platform is an engineering control that may reduce the risk of falls and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from overhead work. Portable lift platforms weigh between 140-285 lbs, but can be broken down into lighter components and transported to a worksite via a truck or van. The lift is powered by an 18-volt drill (or by the optional power pack) and can be elevated to approximately 14 ft. Railings around the platform allow the worker to safely turn all directions. The assembled lift has wheels that allow it to be moved to another location at the worksite.
There are two makers of the portable lift platform: JLG and ReechCraft PowerLift. The JLG portable lift platform has three components that can be easily assembled by one person. The base is 51 x 41 inches, and has adjustable leveling knobs and two large wheels. A smaller third wheel allows movement of the platform on hard surfaces. The aluminum mast is up to 8 ft tall and uses a synthetic fiber cable for lifting and lowering the platform. The platform offers railings and a clip in for a fall arrest harness. In addition, an attachable accessory tray stores up to 33 lb of tools. The platform can be elevated using an 18-volt drill or an optional power pack. The power pack allows for 20 up/down cycles.
The portable lift platform is available in two different models, the FS60 and FS80 (Figure 1). The FS60 has a working height of approximately 12 ft and weighs 130 lb. The FS80 has a working height of approximately 14 ft and weighs 139 lb. Both models have maximum capacity of 330 lb.
Figure 1. The JLG LiftPod FS80
The ReechCraft PowerLift reaches 14 feet 3 inches with a base of 65 X 52 inches, platform size of 26 X 30 inches, fully assembled weight of 278 lbs, and a capacity of 350 lbs. As the platform is elevated with an 18-volt drill, individual mast sections are taken from outside the platform and secured on top of the previously set mast to “build” the mast. Mast sections are removed and replaced outside the platform as the platform is lowered. The platform offers railings and a clip for a fall arrest harness.
The ReechCraft PowerLift is 30 X 52 X 69 inches when stowed and has 12 X 3.5 inches flat free tires for transporting to and from a work site (Figure 2).
Figure 2. The ReechCraft PowerLift
Falls can cause multiple MSDs or even death. Fractures are the most common injury associated with falls, followed by strains, sprains, and abrasions. Furthermore, falls are the leading cause of death in construction, accounting for 264 of the 774 (34%) total fatalities in 2010 (OSHA, 2012). A portable lift platform can reduce the risk of falls by providing 360° of railings and a clip in site for a fall arrest harnesses.
Overhead activities can cause MSDs to the shoulder, neck and back. Shoulder tendonitis or shoulder impingement syndrome is inflammation of the rotator cuff, muscles that help keep the shoulder stable. Work with the arms at or above shoulder height and cause this MSD. Tension neck syndrome occurs when the upper back and neck muscles are contracted for long durations causing tightness. Leaning forward with weight or lifting overhead can also stress the low back. A portable lift platform, adjusted to an appropriate height, may reduce overhead activities and the resulting MSDs.
How Risks are Reduced:
A portable lift platform can reduce the risk of falls because of 360° of railings and a clip in for a fall arrest harness. In addition, there is a larger surface to stand on when compared to a ladder, reducing the chance of a misstep.
A portable lift platform can reduce overhead work because the platform can be elevated so the work is at body-height.
Manufacturers believe that a portable lift platform can reduce the risk of falls. JLG states that the LiftPod “… features an enclosed carriage and secure platform that can help keep you stable as high as 14 feet. It provides a 360-degree range of motion so you can use both hands to get the job done.” The LiftPod and PowerLift also meets ANSI standards for specific horizontal and vertical load test requirements.
Safety and health experts believe that a portable lift platform is a safe alternative to ladders because of the enclosed carriage, clip in for a fall arrest harness, larger surface to stand on, and ability to reach elevated heights.
Effects on Productivity:
A portable lift platform can increase productivity on the worksite
The optional power pack includes a two-hour charger, two 28 volt batteries, and a carrying case.
The operator’s manual should be read and followed before operating a portable lift platform.
The ReechCraft also offers the Hitch Hauler to transport the lift to and from a worksite. It fits any standard 2 inch receiver hitch, weighs 43 lbs., and loads/unloads in 15 seconds.
The lightweight components allow one person to assemble the lift platform quickly. JLG states the LiftPod can be assembled in less than 30 seconds.
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC; and Kevin Wright, SPT – Eastern Washington University
- Build or install roof trusses
- Construct suspended ceiling interior systems
- Inspect and use scaffolds and ladders
- Install doors, windows and associated hardware
- Place wood, metal or engineered floor and ceiling beams
JLG FS60 and FS80
To obtain information, visit http://www.liftpod.com or contact 1-877-554-5438
To obtain information, visit http://www.reechcraft.com/PowerLift or contact 1-888-600-6160
Fall Protection Equipment
Fall protection equipment for residential construction classified by the type of equipment and the phase of construction can be found on this Washington University website. http://www.ot.wustl.edu/fptech/homepage.htm