April 9, 2012 - Well it looks as though the major manufacturers are now not only approving the fitting of anti-crush devices to their boom lifts, but also look set to fully endorse them -and even introducing and promoting their own devices.
The case for protection against inadvertent operation of a boom and the risk of crushing against overhead obstacles has unusually been driven by a small number of UK based major contractors. From the outset the major manufacturers have maintained that the risk of such accidents is exceptionally low, and can be eliminated by good operator training and awareness.
The problems that they face in simply adopting them is that IF they believe that this is an important aid to safety, they really need to offer the concept to everyone, possibly making it standard equipment and… if technically possible offer some sort of retrofit opportunity for existing owners.
The failure to do so could result in significant liability settlements for those incidents that do occur, particularly in their home markets, with a huge ‘liability tail’ for the existing machine population.
The pressure to fit such devices has been aided and abetted by some major UK rental companies, responding to contractor pressure, rather than from the Industry association which has consistently taken the major manufacturers position, while pointing out that this type of accident comes well down the list in terms of risk.
The first manufacturer to offer a fully fitted device was Niftylift when it fitted its SiOPs system to its HR21 in 2009 in response to particular customer demand.– it still does not offer the device on its entire range of booms. The next breakthrough came late last year when Lavendon acquired Blue Sky and announced its new ‘Sky Siren’ device, which it claims can be easily fitted to any machine. At the same time AFI unveiled its ‘Sanctuary Zone’ developed with Genie, Haulotte and JLG, which added a simple roll cage protection to standard booms.
Since then JLG has announced that it will launch a system that sounds very much like the Sky Siren and Genie has unveiled its take on the roll bar theme and confirmed that it will promote this, along with the Sky-Siren and Sanctuary Zone alternatives from its stand at Intermat.
So the genie is now firmly out of the bottle and manufacturers along with rental companies must decide on how they will handle this. If – as they now suggest by the fitting and promotion of these devices – they believe that they are a significant aid to safety, they really must offer them to everyone, possibly making them standard equipment.
Imagine the questions otherwise- following a rare crushing fatality - from the family of the deceased – “why wasn’t my husband’s machine fitted with one of these devices? He might be alive now if it was”. Rental companies will need to take a position on this and either refute the requirement for them, or fit them to all of their boom lifts. Not an easy one.
Please give us your view in our online poll:
Are they unnecessary?
Should they be fitted as standard?
Should they be offered as an option?
We appear to be sliding into an era where truth and facts are seen as disruptive irritations, not only by outspoken ‘populist’ politicians, but increasingly of large companies and industry associations.
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