Whether they’re used to make roof repairs, inspect overhead fire suppression systems, or change ceiling fixtures, crane and forklift supported lifting cages are as much a part of modern facility construction and maintenance as compressors and generators are. The days of setting up costly elevated platforms like scaffolds, or perching employees perilously on forklift tines to perform routine overhead maintenance tasks are long gone.
Now, anywhere a forklift or crane can reach, indoors or outdoors, a safety cage can go there also. Safety cages add layers of safety and efficiency that aren’t available with other elevated working areas. They may not appear all that impressive, but their design and construction are regulated under strict Australian Standards.
They’re safe, tough, and convenient because they have to be. This makes them the perfect choice for businesses that occasionally need to work at height, and already have the necessary lifting vehicles to make purchasing a cage a smart acquisition.
Lift Cages for all Activities
The hazards of working at height have always been a priority for Australia’s workplace health standards. However, the increase in residential and commercial construction, widespread renovation of elevated infrastructure, and even the growing number of renewable energy projects, underline just how many different types of overhead works are being performed.
Scaffolds and other kinds of raised access platforms aren’t practical for most of these jobs, which is why lifting cages for cranes and safety cages for forklifts have become the preferred overhead work platform for activities other than extended projects. AS1418- and AS2359-approved crane and forklift cages are designed to safely convey up to six occupants to a lifting vehicle’s maximum allowable height. And with the sturdiest of these cages boasting lift capacities up to 2000kg cargo capacity, they’re ideal for all types of overhead activities, including:
- Construction. Reinforced brick cages for forklifts or cranes can convey bricks, pallets, tools, and workers to elevated work locations.
- Maintenance. 1 and 2 person crane and forklift cages can instantly put maintenance workers precisely where they’re needed to immediate repairs.
- Warehousing. Order picking cages with removable sides are invaluable for picking goods from indoor racking systems.
- Relocations. A forklift or crane goods cage with removable sides is ideal for hoisting irregular shaped items like furniture to levels can’t be accessed by stairs or elevators.
- Manufacturing. Forklift work cages of 1 and 2 person designs allow employees to work on oversized assemblies like transformers and turbines from above.
From the perspective of project managers and planners, it’s easy to see what forklift and crane cages can do for efficiency. They’re even more important for safety and procurement officers though, because keeping workplace incidents and costs to a minimum is what keeps businesses alive.
Lift Cages are Designed to be Safe
In spite of the progress that’s been made in occupational safety, falls from height are still the third leading cause of worker fatalities in Australia. It’s a troubling statistic, but it explains why the erection of elevated working platforms like scaffolds are so heavily regulated by Australian occupational safety standards.
Unfortunately, the licensing, stabilizing, netting, and other regulatory precautions needed to set up these platforms simply aren’t realistic for jobs that can be performed in days or hours. The design criteria of lifting cages for cranes plays a huge part in keeping employees safe, with features that include:
- Minimum 250 grade carbon steel construction;
- Lifting chain, safety harness, and lanyard connection points;
- Overhead protection and access gates where applicable;
- A valid load test certificate; and,
- Data markings for maximum hoisted load, working load, tare mass, and minimum crane capacity.
For crane-lifted cages in particular, an added level of assurance mandates that the cage’s lifting attachments be sufficient to support two times the cage’s working load. In the case of a 2000kg brick cage, you can count on it having lift points that have been tested to 4000kg. It’s an extreme requirement, but it indicates just how serious occupation safety is when working at height. There’s no doubt about it: cages prevent employees from falling.
Proper Lifting Cage Operation
Procedural and operational safety considerations are another aspect of lifting cage crane and forklift equipment. Regulatory and business owner guidelines for employees utilizing lifting cages are much more comprehensive than with scaffolding systems, and require as a minimum:
- The usage of a task-appropriate cage that’s adequately secured to the lifting vehicle.
- That cage occupants to be securely harnessed to the cage,
- That cage occupants remain inside the cage.
- That the lifting vehicle’s operator remains with the vehicle and cage at all times.
- That the vehicle operator remains in communication with the person in the cage at all times.
Unlike stationary elevated platforms, lifting cages naturally eliminate the potential for employees to either work alone or individually. As a minimum, two people are always with the cage and the lifting vehicle, and an employee isn’t likely to step, or fall from a cage as easily as it happens with scaffolds and other elevated work areas.
Lift Cages Are the Best Solution
For many businesses, the cost advantage that’s achieved with lifting cages is no less compelling than its safety attributes. For most factories, warehouses, and construction businesses, lifting cages allow them to use the capital lifting assets they already own without having to make substantial investments in additional lifting machinery such as:
- Scissor lifts;
- Cherry pickers;
- Boom lifts; or,
- Pneumatic elevated work platforms (EWPs).
With lifting cages, businesses don’t have to worry about renting, leasing, or the extended cost of owning, servicing and maintaining an entirely new lifting platform with a limited range of capabilities. Cages can be used with multiple pieces of their own equipment and get the job done safely anytime they need.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, cages can be depended on to provide versatile, cost effective, and above all, safe elevated working areas. And they’re not limited in the scale or scope of how they’re designed to be used, either. They can do the job you need done quickly, using the equipment you already own.
Before your business commits to purchasing a piece of equipment that could prove to be significantly more limited in scope than price, consider how much value lifting cages could add to your equipment roster. They’re simple solutions that can have big benefits for your company.