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What is a Suspended Personnel Platform and Why Is It Important for Crane Operations

A power line worker in a crane basket

Crane personnel platforms are a high-grade safety measure implemented at crane operation sites if there’s no other safer alternative for operator and rigger mobility. These platforms are designed to work in place of ladders, elevated networks, and scaffolds.

OSHA says that crane personnel platforms are only allowed in the absence of conventional access means. The written code 29 CFR Part 1926.550 states the complete details of crane setup and lifting safety operations, including the use of suspended personnel platforms.

Continue reading this blog to learn more about the meaning and purpose of suspended personnel platforms and how you can maximize their safety for your crane crew.

Applicable Allowances for Developing a Suspended Personnel Platform

Weight limit compliance is the most critical regulation you should follow when setting up a suspended personnel platform. Understand the crane load chart and ensure the load lifted never exceeds 50% of the recommended capacity. This small yet extremely important safety consideration can help you maximize the safety of your elevated worksite with a suspended personnel platform.

A crane inspector taking notes

Additional Requirements for Developing a Suspended Personnel Platform

Once you’re all set with the load capacity limits, follow the codes mentioned below to ensure end-to-end OSHA compliance:

  • Include a positive locking safety mechanism to your suspended personnel platform. The locking feature should also extend as a safety latch to the crane hook and boom angle

  • Improve boom angle and load weight safety with a load moment and rated capacity warning indicator

  • Regulate and optimize hook-lowering rate, especially in the case of a personnel platform

  • Consider conducting a trial lift around an unoccupied, empty platform to ensure that your team and equipment are safe to use

  • Do not let any personnel enter the basket or suspended platform before the trial lift is complete

  • Incorporate supporting tools like intended load, weight baskets, and counterweights in the trial lift

  • Make sure you have a certified and competent crane inspector on board for real-time crane monitoring and hazard detection

Revised OSHA Rules for Mobile Crane Suspended Personnel Platforms

OSHA closely and strictly regulates the design, construction, development, testing, and maintenance of suspended personnel platforms. The stricter codes were launched after crane operators complained about ambiguousness in the OSHA regulations. Previously, suspended platforms were called man baskets, man cages, and suspended baskets. These names went strongly against OSHA’s crane safety requirements.

But with the new OSHA rules, suspended personnel platforms are legally permitted under certain circumstances (mentioned above). However, OSHA still legally restricts the following actions:

  • Workers should never ride suspended loads, hooks, and platforms

  • While they may offer the fastest route to a work site, suspended personnel platforms should be the last resort

OSHA has also outlined a complete suspended personnel platform safety checklist to help project managers and mobile crane operators maximize worksite safety. This exhaustive checklist includes everything from pre-lift meetings and work-basket design requirements to rigging, testing, and post-lift inspections. Learn more here: Suspended personnel platforms.

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