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FOR HIRE WITH OPERATOR 30 MILE RADIUS OF CAMBRIDGE

Checklist before hiring a cherry picker by Paul Silver

If you need to reach in to a high area to work, e.g. trimming branches from trees, repairing guttering, cleaning windows, fixing roofs, then using a cherry picker rather than scaffolding can be a much more efficient way to gain access to the area you need. It'll be a case of drive up, set up the machine - which may be a case of just climbing up in to the cage on the back - and lift up in to the air.

Here is what you need to consider before hiring a cherry picker for your job:

How high do I need to go?

The upwards reach of a cherry picker is generally measured from ground level to the maximum height it can reach, plus the reach of an average person. So if your measurements are tight, don't expect your own height to be added to the top of the machine measurement, unless you're unusually tall.

How far out do I need to go?

The outreach, how far a machine can stretch sideways, is measured from the turret - the arm that lifts the cage up in to the air - to the fingertips of the average person stretching out from the fully extended boom. So if you're painting, using a roller will get you an extra bit of reach. If you're using a heavy tool, give yourself some leeway on the outreach so you're not stretching out and causing yourself unnecessary pain and safety issues.

How much weight do I need to carry?

The weight in the cage changes how much outreach you can use, i.e. the lower the weight, the further it is safe to reach. Always remember to add your weight in your work clothes and the weight of your tools together and compare them to the "safe working load" of the cherry picker before deciding which to buy.

If you're painting, don't forget that paint is heavy. As a ready reckoner, a litre of paint is at least 1kg. The weight is affected by the density of the paint, so if you're close to a weight limit and lifting paint, find out exactly how much it weighs so you're safe when you're up in the air. You can always come down and get more pots.

What are the ground conditions?

If the ground slopes, and by how much, affects which machine you can use - check the gradient level on the hire specs. If you're dealing with very rough terrain, specialist cherry pickers exist which will cope with the conditions.

When working on wet ground, make sure the cherry picker is well supported, you do not want issues when you are high up in the air. Many models have outriggers which spread the load further, and if the ground is soft you may need to place boards under the outrigger feet to ensure the machine is stable.

If conditions are changeable and you are not sure of how to set up the machine to be safe, call the hire company for advice before you start. If you're hiring a machine with an operator, they will be able to assess the conditions and set the machine up correctly.

Am I inside?

If you're working inside, consider hiring an electrically powered machine as they do not give off the fumes you get with diesel power.

Remember to check doorways and corridors - how narrow is the smallest place the machine will have to fit through? And does it have to turn in any tight spaces? Walk the route with your tape measure, you don't want to be standing embarrassed on the wrong side of a small doorway your memory had ignored.

Can I operate the machine myself?

Many cherry pickers can be driven on a standard car drivers license as they are under 3.5 tons. If you gained your license before 1994, you can legally drive vehicles up to 7.5 tons, so more machines will be available to you without further driving training. Larger, HGV based or specialist vehicles will require a fully trained operator to drive them. You're advised to attend a course on safe use of cherry pickers before hiring one, these can be as short as one day and ensure you understand how to use the access machinery safely.

What affects the cost?

How long you need the machine, usually paid by the day or week.

Whether you need an operator to work the machine or you are hiring on a self-drive basis.

How far you are from your hire firm if they need to deliver the machine.

Which particular machine you need to hire. A van based cherry picker to reach a dozen metres will be much cheaper than an HGV based machine which can reach up and over Cathedral spires.

If you're in the UK and want to hire a cherry picker, or get IPAF or PASMA work at height training

help you.

01223 846016 or 07980 916950