Horizon Platforms Blog

5 Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Access Platform

Access Platform Maintenance

If you’re completing a job that requires working at height using an access platform, chances are you will either consider buying or hiring a MEWP. There are several benefits to hiring a powered access platform, including lower upfront costs and the option to rent different models to ensure you find the right equipment for your needs. 

So you’ve decided that hiring an access platform might be the best way to go… what next? It’s not as simple as picking the first cherry picker or scissor lift you see. You’ll need to carefully consider what equipment is most suitable for the job and where to hire your MEWP from. 

Here at Horizon Platforms, we’ve put together the questions you need to ask yourself before hiring an access platform. 

How Long Do I Need the Equipment For? 

This will help you to decide whether you should consider hiring or purchasing your MEWP. For example, if you consistently require the same cherry picker for numerous jobs and have suitable storage facilities, it could be more cost effective over time to purchase either new or used powered access equipment

However, if you are looking for a certain MEWP to help you to complete a project, hiring equipment could be the best option. You won’t need to worry about the long-term costs of storage and maintenance – simply select the equipment you need and enjoy flexible hire lengths and fast delivery. In some cases you can choose your equipment and have it delivered on the same day! 

So how much is it to hire a cherry picker? The cost varies depending on the individual machine and the terms of your hire, so it’s best to speak with an access platform specialist who will be able to discuss your specific needs with you. 

Have I Researched the Size and Type of Equipment I Need?

Different types of MEWPs are most suitable for different uses. Whether you want to safely elevate towards hard-to-reach areas or need to navigate an access platform within a restricted space, you’re sure to find a powered access platform to suit your needs. That said, it’s important to thoroughly research what type of equipment you need, to ensure it will be fit for purpose and help you to complete your job safely. 

Perhaps you need a low-level personnel lift to navigate through narrow aisles or a scissor lift to work outside on rough terrain. Scissor lifts are most suitable for low-level access, cherry pickers are normally best for working on medium to high levels and articulating boom lifts enable you to work from very high heights. Whether you’re installing signage or working on a construction site, it’s important to understand the benefits of different types of MEWPs. 

The main considerations to think about when selecting a MEWP are:

  • What height distance needs to be reached?
  • How heavy is the equipment I need to use? 
  • What is the safe working load of the machine?
  • Does the access machinery need to be mobile?
  • How large or narrow is the space? 
  • What is the turning radius?
  • Will I require both horizontal and vertical reach?
  • Might there be overhead obstructions? 
  • What will the ground condition be like?
  • How will the site be accessed? 

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you to accurately select a cherry picker or boom lift to suit your specific needs. 

Use our Platform Finder to help you quickly and easily discover the right MEWP for the job.  

Am I Working Indoors or Outdoors?

Different access platforms are constructed for different uses – and not all of them are suitable for outdoor use or rough terrain. MEWPs that are most suitable for outdoor use have additional features that make them safer and more efficient when working in certain conditions. 

Outdoor ground surfaces can be uneven or sloped, so you’ll need to make sure the gradability of your machine is suitable. Depending on the ground conditions, you may also need to consider hiring a cherry picker with outrigger boards to help stabilise the equipment. You should also check the machine’s maximum safe wind speeds when working in potentially challenging outdoor conditions to make sure there’s no risk of tipping. 

Many operators choose a diesel or bi-fuel access platform when working outside, or if there is no energy charging facility available. If you’re working indoors, however, or where there’s little ventilation, an electric MEWP is perhaps a better option. 

Do I have the right licence to hire an access platform?

You might be asking yourself: can anyone hire a cherry picker? While anyone over 18 years old can hire an access platform, you will need to have the right licence to be able to operate it. Those with a standard vehicle driving licence will be able to hire and drive cherry pickers under 3.5 tons (or under 7.5 tons, if your driving licence was acquired before 1994). Larger or more specialist equipment will require additional training. Alternatively, you could also hire a fully trained operator alongside your MEWP for the complete package!

All MEWP operators are legally required to demonstrate they have had adequate training. Both the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) state that individuals must be able to demonstrate they have completed appropriate training which allows them to be considered competent to operate powered access equipment. 

IPAF operator courses and PASMA training courses are industry standard training courses, both leading the way in safety best practices. You will need to select the most suitable course for your needs depending on the equipment you intend to use. 

You might also be wondering ‘should I have insurance when I hire a boom lift or cherry picker?’ When you rent a powered access platform, it’s ultimately your responsibility to look after the equipment. Make sure you have adequate plant insurance that covers hired equipment, or consider taking out a Damage & Loss Waiver Agreement with your platform provider. This gives you peace of mind that, should accidental damage or theft occur, you won’t end up footing the bill yourself. 

Have I Carried Out a Full Safety Assessment?

You should never leap straight into action without carrying out an inspection of your hired access platform. Make sure you have thoroughly inspected the equipment, familiarising yourself and testing out all functionalities before beginning operation. 

Whether you’re using your own MEWP or a hired access platform, always refer to the operator’s manual beforehand to make sure you are completely familiar with the machine. 

Choosing The Right Powered Access Platform Provider

Working with a MEWP specialist, such as Horizon Platforms, will ensure you get fast, efficient delivery of your hired cherry picker or scissor lift without disruption or delay. We have an extensive fleet of equipment that gives you over 1,000 platforms to choose from, with our expert team on hand to advise which machine is most suitable for the job. 

Furthermore, we only offer quality powered access platforms from reputable manufacturers nationwide and take responsibility for MEWP maintenance. Regular services and inspections means you have full peace of mind that your hired equipment is fully operational and compliant from the moment it arrives on site, allowing you to work safely and efficiently. 

For more information about hiring an access platform, visit the Horizon Platforms blog or take a look at our FAQs.