Are platform safety rails sufficient?

Oct 08, 2020
Raymond in the News, Media

Question: We have an order picker and a platform with caged railings on the three sides not facing the order picker. We use this during inventory with one person in the cage and one person operating the order picker. Does the person in the platform and driver both need to be wearing a safety harness or is the railing sufficient?

This is addressed in ANSI/ITSDF B56.1-2012, Safety Standard For Low Lift And High Lift Trucks,  sections 4.17 and 7.37.1.  The standard is available for a free download at: Industrial Truck Standards Foundation. In general, a railing can suffice for personal fall protection provided its design meets the following requirements:

7.37.1 Platforms used for elevating personnel shall have (a) a slip resistant floor surface. (b) a minimum floor space of 450 mm x 450 mm for each platform occupant. (c) protection for personnel in their normal working position on the platform from moving parts of the truck that represent a hazard. (d) fall restraint means such as a guard rail or a personal fall protection system, whenever the platform can be elevated to a height greater than 1200 mm. (1) A guard rail shall have a height above the platform floor of not less than 915 mm or more than 1 065 mm around its upper periphery and include a midrail. To provide an access opening, the guard rail may be hinged or removable, or chains may be used if proper positioning is easily accomplished and a secured condition is discernible. Guard rails and access opening guards shall be capable of withstanding a concentrated horizontal force of 890 N applied at the point of least resistance without permanent deformation.

Raymond Orderpickers in their standard configuration are not equipped with mid-rail side gates, so the operator compartment does not have all of the above attributes.

There may be certain limited circumstances in which, in addition to the operator, another person would need to be on an Orderpicker or Swing-Reach lift truck. For example, OSHA has promulgated training regulations confirming the employer’s duty to ensure that all persons operating industrial equipment are trained. These regulations are set forth in 29 CFR 1910.178. These regulations require that an employer train the forklift operator and that the training include instruction specific to the particular truck to be operated and the site at which the truck is to be operated. To comply with the spirit and intent of the employer’s duty to train, we believe that an employer may authorize a trainer and a trainee to be on an Orderpicker or Swing-Reach lift truck at the same time.

Ultimately, a user must determine the procedures proper and appropriate for his or her operating environment. It is difficult for a manufacturer, such as Raymond, to know the exact nature of the application and the specifics of the operating environment. Accordingly, it is difficult to comment on what might or might not be appropriate for a given environment of use. To the extent, however, that an employer determines that limited circumstances warrant that an additional person be on an Orderpicker or Swing-Reach lift truck, it is incumbent on that employer to provide that additional person a safe place in which to occupy. Both the operator and the additional person may attach energy absorbing or self-retracting lanyards to the full-length tether bar on Raymond Orderpicker trucks so long as the combined weight of both individuals does not exceed 500 pounds.