Lifting cages / work platforms

Before I start, I'm based in the UK.
I'm currently having an argument with my health and safety department over the use of work platforms which we use to lift people up on fork lift trucks. We have just replaced two of our platforms (cages), and I am getting them suitably labelled, and trying to put together a method statement for their correct use based on the HSE guidlines (document pm28). We currently disagree on the correct use of the reach on our reach trucks. I am stating that the truck should be used with reach extended when using the cage, but they are unsure as it goes against normal driving practice.
The HSE guidlines state explicitly that reach should NOT be used while LIFTING a platform, but doesn't state wether it should be extended or retracted beforehand. My argument is that the possible problems with retracting forks outweigh the issue of the slight instability of the truck being used with forks extended. If the truck is driven correctly with the cage fitted, then it will not be an issue, you would not drive a truck with a cage in the same manner as a truck with a pallet of stock.
Retracting the forks with a cage on board could possibly result in the cage being caught on the fork arms, something which does happen regularly, and has caused both our new cages to be damaged.. That's not an issue when the cage is being fitted, as adjustment can be made with sideshift, but it could move slightly on the forks while in use, and then catch when lowered, and TECHNICALLY, you are not allowed to use reach or side shift to correct it. The HSE actually say that tilt and sideshift should be locked out of use while lifting, and it could be argued that the same applies to reach, although it doesn't explicitly say so.
We also have several 'narrow guage' trucks where the cage would simply not fit between the fork arms, so could not be used with the reach retracted. We could state that these trucks are not to be used with the cage, but it just seems easier to me to have one rule for all trucks on site.
What are others thoughts on this.

  • Posted 11 Nov 2005 06:08
  • Discussion started by kevin_h
  • Beds, United Kingdom
Showing items 1 - 15 of 25 results.
Joeseph h, is right on with his post above. It has been my experience that in the U.S. most forklift manufacterers have ceased giving written permission to most users for "man cages." If you buy 10 new lifts and as part of the deal you request a letter to use brand new, purpose built cages, you may get that request approved, if you have a fleet of old trucks and cages and ask if they are ok with you using them, good luck getting a letter from any manufacturer. I have seen OSHA recently warn customers in our area about cages, they want the letter from the manufacturer of every forklift that will lift the cages and also cages that are professionally built to the right standards, of they will cite the customer. I have advised all our customers to cease using all cages immediately unless they have a letter from the manufacturer, as it is just not worth the risk. As a side note, lifting people with forklifts in cages, if used properly should never be a safety problem. That being said there are injuries and deaths every single year because people simply do not use them correctly and many of the cages are home made and not properly built in the first place. In my opinion, for most customers buying the right Aerial Work Platform is their best move for lifting people safely.
  • Posted 23 Sep 2010 22:51
  • Reply by Panthertrainer
  • Ohio, United States
HSE Guidance Note PM28 [3rd edition] December 2005

12. The Work at Height Regulations 2005, regulation 7(2)(b) places a duty on employers to select the most suitable work equipment for the task to be carried out regardless of the duration of the task. Nevertheless, it is foreseeable but unacceptable that people will often use unsafe methods of access to height for short duration and occasional tasks. For example, a substantial number of serious accidents occur when people are lifted on the forks or a bucket and on pallets or stillages placed on the forks of fork lift trucks. To encourage safer working practices, in these exceptional circumstances, occasional use of non-integrated working platforms with forklift trucks is allowed in the UK in accordance with this guidance note. This occasional use is allowed in the UK but may not be allowed in some other EU member states. As such, there is NO free movement of non-integrated working platforms throughout the EU and they MUST NOT be CE marked.

13. Examples of occasional use are: a. non-routine maintenance tasks for which it is impractical to hire in purpose built access equipment, b. the replacement of light fittings in high rise warehouses if the task is not carried out as part of periodic maintenance operations, c. tasks that would otherwise be carried out using less safe means of access such as ladders, because it is impractical to hire in purpose designed people lifting equipment due to the short duration and occasional nature of the task, e.g. clearing a blocked gutter d. checking on high-level damage to racking suspected of causing an immediate risk or checking on the condition of damaged roof lights.

14. Routine or planned tasks particularly those associated with production or
pre-planned activities, such as periodic maintenance or stocktaking, are not exceptional circumstances and are thus not examples of occasional use. Generally, non-integrated work platforms do not provide as high a level of safety as purpose built access equipment. Consequently, forklift trucks fitted with non-integrated working platforms are not suitable for order picking, routine maintenance or the transfer of goods or people from one level to another."
  • Posted 3 Jul 2010 01:56
  • Reply by joseph_h
  • Michigan, United States
I concur with Paddy B and suggest you obtain a copy of PM28 although it is somewhat contradicory and is a bone of contention in the UK and has never been fully resolved when a cage can be used and what for. Basically if you use a cage I suggest that it must be approved by your H&S people. Only this week I saw two guys try to free a rear roller door on a lorry by standing on raised forks! You could also contact BITA who are most helpful.
I worked for an UK attachment company for 20 years as a service engineer and manager. We manufactured and supplied saftey cages that were intergrally fitted into the truck traction electrics by the use of suitably positioned fail safe switches that disabled the truck unless certain peramiters were met (height, handbrake on etc) and the operator(s) in the cage pressed two handed buttons. The cages are better suited to electic trucks as they immediatley start and stop the electrics, whereas with engine trucks there is a delay in stopping & starting the engine. I also designed an intermediate switch controlled cage i.e. a basic cage with cut out switches. Please contact me for more detail. 07500 958698
  • Posted 2 Jul 2010 17:20
  • Reply by alan_s
  • Northumberland, United Kingdom

Non-integrated forklift platforms are not acceptable for order picking. These devices are only approved for occasional use maintenance activities.

You can obtain a copy of the UK guidelines (HSE Guidance Note PM28) referred to in the first post at the following:

Google: hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/pm28.pdf
  • Posted 2 Jul 2010 04:15
  • Modified 2 Jul 2010 04:16 by poster
  • Reply by joseph_h
  • Michigan, United States
Getting back to the original issue/problem
The second step on the "Hierarchy of control" triangle is Substitution.
if you have personnel going up high to reach product etc.
Why not purchase or rent an order picker?
this will save on manpower and the person using the machine has complete control.


  • Posted 1 Jul 2010 08:53
  • Reply by paddyB
  • Queensland, Australia
The following ITSDF paragraphs may be of interest to those in the United States that use rough terrain forklifts to elevate personnel:

ANSI/ITSDF B56.6-2005 (Reaffirmation of ASME B56.6-2002)
Safety Standard for Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks


"A rough terrain forklift truck is defined as a wheeled type truck designed primarily as a fork truck with a vertical mast and/or a pivoted boom, variable reach or of fixed length, which may be equipped with attachments. This truck is intended for operation on unimproved natural terrain as well as the disturbed terrain of construction sites. This definition excludes machines designed primarily for earth moving, such as loaders and dozers, even though their buckets and blades are replaced with forks, and machines designed primarily as over-the-road trucks equipped with lifting devices."

5.15 Elevating Personnel

"5.15.1) A rough terrain forklift truck shall not be used to lift people unless there is no other practical option. If a rough terrain forklift truck must be used to lift people, the following precautions for the protection of personnel shall be taken: (a) provide a personnel platform which complies with the design requirements listed in Part III of this Standard; (b) be certain that the platform is securely attached to the lifting carriage and forks; (c) be certain that the lifting carriage and forks are secured to prevent them from pivoting upward; (d) on trucks equipped with rotators, deactivate the rotation; (e) provide protection for personnel in their normal working position on the platform from moving parts of the rough terrain forklift truck that represents a hazard; (f) provide overhead protection as indicated to be necessary by the operating conditions; (g) be certain that the lifting mechanism is operating smoothly throughout its entire lift range, both empty and loaded [as described in para. 5.15.1(t)], and that all lift limiting devices and latches, if provided, are functional; (h) be certain that the mast or boom travel is vertical - do not operate on a side slope unless the rough terrain forklift truck is leveled; (i) be certain that the platform is horizontal and never tilt platform forward or rearward when elevated; (j) be certain that the rough terrain forklift truck has a firm footing; (k) be certain that required straining means such as railings, chains, cable, body belt(s) with lanyard(s), etc., are in place and properly used; (l) place rough terrain forklift truck control(s) in neutral and set parking brake; (m) before elevating personnel, area shall be marked to warn of work by elevated personnel; (n) be certain that the path of platform travel is clear of hazards, e.g., storage racks, scaffolds, overhead obstructions, and electrical wires; (o) keep hands and feet clear of controls other than those in use; (p) lift and lower personnel smoothly, with caution, and only at their request; (q) always lower the platform if you must move the rough terrain forklift truck for adjustments in positioning; (r) alert elevated personnel before moving the platform. Then move the platform smoothly and with caution. (s) a trained operator shall be in position to control the rough terrain forklift truck, or available to operate controls if the platform is not equipped with controls. When the operator is not in the operating position, block the truck wheels and apply the parking brake with all travel controls in neutral. (t) the combined mass (weight) of the platform, load, and personnel shall not exceed one-third of the capacity at the related load center position as indicated on the information plate(s) of the rough terrain forklift truck on which the platform is used; (u) personnel are to maintain firm footing on platform floor unless secured by body belt and lanyard. Use of railings, planks, ladders, etc., on the platform for purpose of achieving additional reach or height is prohibited; (v) be certain that personnel and equipment on the platform do not exceed the available space; (w) platform shall be lowered to floor level for personnel to enter and exit. Personnel shall not climb on any part of the rough terrain forklift truck in attempting to enter and exit. (x) any body belt, lanyard, or deceleration device which has sustained permanent deformation or is otherwise damaged shall be replaced; (y) prohibit modification to the platform that is detrimental to its safe use."

(Note the first line in 5.15.1. Similar wording may also be in the forklift national consensus standards of other nations.}
  • Posted 27 Jun 2010 02:40
  • Modified 27 Jun 2010 20:47 by poster
  • Reply by joseph_h
  • Michigan, United States
A forklift must be in compliance with the following when lifting personnel in a forklift work basket/cage/platform:

Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks
ANSI/ITSDF B56.1-2005
(Reaffirmation of ASME B56.1-2004)

7.37 Platforms: Elevating
(f) hydraulic or pneumatic hoisting systems shall include means to prevent unintended descent in excess of 0.6 m/s in event of a hose failure.

(Similar wording will most likely be found in the national consensus standards used by your country.)
  • Posted 19 Jun 2010 03:07
  • Reply by joseph_h
  • Michigan, United States
In the United States, work baskets/cages/platforms must be approved for use by the forklift manufacturer on all forklift(s) on which these devices will be used.

OSHA 1910.178(a)(4)
"Modifications and additions which affect capacity and safe operation shall not be performed by the customer or user without manufacturers prior written approval. Capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals shall be changed accordingly."

(Note: Some forklift manufacturers will not authorize the use of work platforms on forklifts due to the liability involved.)

OSHA 1910.178(a)(5)
"If the truck is equipped with front-end attachments other than factory installed attachments, the user shall request that the truck be marked to identify the attachments and show the approximate weight of the truck and attachment combination at maximum elevation with load laterally centered."

OSHA Interpretation (November 27, 2001)

"If the manufacturer's operator manual states that a forklift is not to be used for elevating personnel platforms, use of the equipment to support such a platform would violate this provision. Consequently, OSHA prohibits the use of such equipment to elevate personnel. If the owner's manual for the equipment is silent on whether the equipment may be used to elevate personnel, the employer must determine if the forklift was designed for such purposes. The standard places the obligation on the employer to ensure that this type of equipment is used to elevate personnel only where the manufacturer has designed it to do so. The employer would either have to find out from the manufacturer that it was designed for this use or (where that information is unavailable) obtain a certification by a registered professional engineer that the equipment was so designed."

(This interpretation was in response to a rough terrain forklift question but is applicable to all forklifts.)
  • Posted 19 Jun 2010 02:43
  • Reply by joseph_h
  • Michigan, United States
Another important thing to remember is once the basket is up to the level you want the forklift operator makes sure the brake is on, turn key off, and keep their hands away from any of the controls.
  • Posted 18 Jun 2010 22:42
  • Reply by mrfixit
  • New York, United States
and at least in the USA, as I read it, lateral movement of the basket is prohibited, while the basket is occupied. you can move it up and down, but not side to side or front and back
  • Posted 18 Jun 2010 21:08
  • Reply by edward_t
  • South Carolina, United States
"it's not rocket surgery"
A reach truck is more stable when the forks are retracted as the load center at this point is usually situated within the reach truck's wheel base. As the forks are extended, a counterbalance situation starts to develop. On most reach trucks, when the forks are fully extended it becomes a counterbalance type truck without the benefit of any additional counterweight. The weight of the truck is usually the sole counterweight.

Pick up a 40 pound sack of cement and standing upright hold it close to your chest. You are fairly stable in this position as the weight is within your body's stability base. Standing upright, hold the sack of cement in your hands and slowly extend them. The further the sack extends from your body the less stable you become. The weight of your body is your sole counterweight

An empty reach truck with the forks retracted is less stable as the truck's center of gravity shifts toward the narrow portion of the imaginary stability triangle. Less dynamic force from braking, turning, shifting loads, etc. is required to shift the reach truck's center of gravity beyond the imaginary stability triangle.

Lifting personnel in a work basket with the reach truck forks extended is definitely an unsafe act and an accident waiting to happen.
  • Posted 18 Jun 2010 15:35
  • Modified 18 Jun 2010 15:54 by poster
  • Reply by joseph_h
  • Michigan, United States
Forks first in was I consider front. The back is the opening where the operator steps out. The load wheels are the front, and the drive steer wheel in the back
  • Posted 18 Jun 2010 11:19
  • Reply by dan_m
  • Ontario, Canada
DAn, when you say "lateral space is wider than the triangle at the back of the truck" is the "back of the truck" the "forks last" [the tractor] part?
  • Posted 18 Jun 2010 11:11
  • Reply by edward_t
  • South Carolina, United States
"it's not rocket surgery"
I understand what you are saying re the stability triangle, and the fact that when the forks are extended, the center of gravity moves closer to the front, making the truck more stable, left to right.

For the mindset that believe that the narrow aisle reach truck has a stability trapezoid instead of the triangle, obviously the lateral space is wider than the triangle at the back of the truck, allowing for the truck to be almost, but not quite as, stable when the truck is empty, then when is full.

Therefore, if the truck has a triangle, and one is maintaining the forks in their nested position, the truck would seem to be more unstable, understandably.

If its confusing, then I can paint you a picture, and I would need instructions on how to send it to you, or you can drop the matter as far as my comments are concerned, and just leave it at that! lol
  • Posted 18 Jun 2010 07:32
  • Reply by dan_m
  • Ontario, Canada
and in english........................
  • Posted 18 Jun 2010 07:05
  • Reply by tugger
  • Berkshire, United Kingdom

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