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Manlifts

Hi, I'm Jill, Chief Safety Officer with Vivid Learning Systems. I'm a former OSHA Inspector, and I'm here to help you identify and correct workplace safety hazards. For this series, we're at Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative in the heart of the upper Midwest to show you, no matter where you work, safety is for everyone.

Let's break the suspense, and let our audience know what this thing is behind me. Here we are at the Beet Sugar Cooperative, and I'm with Joe, the Chief Boiler House Engineer here at the Beet Sugar Co-op, and this thing behind us is called an endless-belt manlift. Now, Joe, other than this thing having a sexist name, what is this thing? What do you use it for here?

We use our manlift to transport employees from the second floor all the way up to the 10th floor. Nine floors [inaudible 00:01:02].

Nine floors?

Always got to make sure you keep your hands on the handholds at all times and feet firmly planted on your platform.

Yeah. Joe, can you tell me the parts of the manlift? What are the different parts of it?

Main parts of the belt are the continuous belt, your handholds, and your foot pedals.

And the foot steps that's like we're seeing right now going up?

Yep, that's what actually carries you going up.

Okay.

We also have safety devices along with signage to tell you how to operate the manlift.

Okay, so you have your signage. That's great.

We have signage. Face the belt, use the handhold. Pull the rope in the direction of travel to stop the manlift, pull it the opposite direction to start the manlift.

Okay.

Alert any malfunction to your supervisors and so on and so forth.

Okay.

Safety devices on the manlift, we have an eye run by that shows, anything that stays in that eye will shut the manlift down.

Will shut the manlift down?

Yep.

As well as the brake on the side?

Yep, you pull the rope and that will stop it as well. We have the pedal on the bottom, so if you accidentally stretch, go too far and you fall off, that'll also stop the manlift.

Up on the 10th floor, we have more safety features. We have a bar that if you too far, bar falls off, and that will trip it off as well.

And that'll stop it as well.

We also have pads that the step itself pushes against. You get them too high, and that will trip it off as well.

That'll stop it as well. And so if you need to get off of it, and let's say the power shuts off, then what? How do you get down?

We have a ladder system on the side. You're able to, all the way from the 10th floor, all the way to the top, you're able to come off to the side and descend down to the next level.

The escape ladder, okay, very good. Then when you get off at each floor, what are the safety features on each floor?

Each level has its own barricaded area with an automatic closing gate behind when you leave or enter that area.

So that people can't accidentally walk into the shaft?

Yeah, we don't want them falling down the shaft.

Right, exactly. How often do you inspect this?

We inspect our manlifts on site monthly, and we have an independent contractor come in annually to inspect.

Someone who specializes in inspecting manlifts?

Yes.

When you do your monthly inspections, what are you looking for?

Test our brake system out. We check for slack in the belt. Check all fasteners on the handholds, footholds. Make sure everything's tight and in operating condition.

Okay, very good. And you're documenting that you do those inspections?

Yep.

Yeah, very good. So that's a piece of your requirements as well. Well, thank you so much for explaining to us what a manlift is, its safety features, and how to inspect them, really appreciate it.

Anytime.

All right. If you have a manlift in your facility, I encourage you to read the full OSHA regulations on them, which is 1910.68. And also, get the ASME, or the American Society of Mechanical Engineering standard, which is A.90.1 as well. Both of those resources will be really helpful to you on how to properly maintain your manlift as well as safety features about them.

I hope you gained a safety skill today. If you know someone who needs this, go ahead and pass it on. Safety is everyone's business.