Horizon Platforms Blog

The Ultimate Cherry Picker Checklist For Working Safely & Effectively

Operating a cherry picker requires a strong commitment to safety, precision and skill. To ensure the smooth and safe operation of your MEWP, it’s essential to have a well-structured checklist in place.

In this blog, we’ll break down the key sections of an effective cherry picker checklist, covering everything from hiring MEWPs and access platforms training to safety protocols, pre-operation checks and more to ensure you have a safe and successful experience. 

Cherry Picker Training and Safety Protocol

It’s essential for operators to be equipped with the right knowledge and skills before stepping foot onto a cherry picker. Being fully aware of the correct health and safety regulations helps to minimise risks for everyone on-site. Each operator should have all the necessary training and a clear understanding of required safety protocols when operating powered access platforms. 

MEWP Training Courses

At Horizon Platforms, we offer an extensive range of training programs, including IPAF courses, to provide a wealth of knowledge on the do’s and don’ts of operating MEWPs and working safely from heights. 

Our training list includes but is not limited to:

By enrolling in accredited training programs, you can learn about equipment controls, safety protocols, and best practices. Whether you’re a beginner looking to gain your first qualification or a seasoned operator looking to enhance your skills, we have a range of training programs suited to all levels of experience.

Pre-Operation Checks

Before you can begin operating your cherry picker, you must first ensure your selected work environment is safe for use, as outlined by HSE’s guidance on site rules and induction. This includes everything from ground stability to clearing sites of potential hazards that might pose a risk to either the operator or others.

Some of the essential checks that should be carried out include: 

  • Function & Visual Inspection: Look for any visible signs of damage, leaks, or loose components on the cherry picker. At Horizon Platforms, we carry out a mandatory extensive pre-delivery inspection across all our hired access platforms to assess the overall health and safety ahead of delivery. With that said, it is essential that daily pre-use inspections are also carried out by operators, including visual and function checks to verify the ground, platform and emergency controls are all functioning correctly before using the MEWP.
  • Ground Stability Check: Verify that the cherry picker is on stable ground to ensure it is safe for use. Due to the weight of MEWPs, the ground can settle under heavier loads, causing the machine to tip and overturn. For more information, check out our ground stability safety checklist for the 7 common hazardous conditions to look out for.
  • Work Area Inspection: Identify potential hazards, such as overhead obstructions, power lines,  or unstable surfaces. Clear floors and surrounding areas of tools, equipment and debris that may pose a risk to on-site workers.

Safety Procedures

When it comes to working from heights, it’s essential to adhere to the correct safety procedures while operating a powered access platform.

Ensure Personal Fall Protective Equipment is Worn (PFPE)

Always wear a safety harness and the appropriate PFPE, including helmets, gloves, and safety shoes. A  safety harness, in particular, provides a vital lifeline should any unexpected incidents occur while operating at heights in a boom lift. Ensure that these are correctly fitted and securely attached to the designated anchorage point.

Weight Limits

Strictly adhere to the MEWP manufacturer’s recommended safe working load (SWL) for the cherry picker and scissor lifts. Manufacturers specify SWLs for a reason. Overloading the platform compromises stability and safety and can incur excessive stress leading to structural damage, potentially leading to structural damage.

Controlled Speed

Operate the cherry picker at a controlled speed, especially when travelling the MEWP near people or structures. Avoid abrupt or jerky movements to maintain stability. Smooth and controlled movements are essential to prevent any sudden shifts in balance. This is particularly crucial when changing the elevation of the platform.

Situational Awareness

Stay vigilant and maintain awareness of your surroundings. Keep an open line of communication with ground workers through radios or hand signals. Awareness is your greatest ally when working at heights. Pay attention to your environment, and communicate effectively with your team on the ground to ensure a safe operation.

No Unattended Operation

Never leave the cherry picker unattended while it’s elevated. Ensure that a qualified operator is in control at all times. Leaving the cherry picker unattended while elevated poses a serious safety risk. Plus, exiting the platform at height poses a serious risk, which should only be undertaken in exceptional circumstances 

Adherence to Manufacturer Guidelines

Strictly follow the make and model specific guidelines in the Manufacturers Operator manual, which is delivered with the machine and normally in a black box near the platform controls l. Never cut corners here as specifications and capabilities are different and tailored to each cherry picker. These guidelines are designed to maximise safety and efficiency by guiding the operator to use the equipment within its intended parameters.

Preparing for Emergencies:

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 stipulate “employers must have a plan in place for emergencies and rescue when working at height, and the emergency services cannot be entirely relied upon”. 

When preparing for emergencies, you should always make sure the ground controls are accessible for use by ground rescue people in case of an emergency before elevating the MEWP. You should also avoid positioning the MEWP with the side where the ground controls are up against a wall or structure.

To ensure you can handle emergencies and potential hazards you must also be doing the following:

  • Emergency Lowering Procedure: Familiarise yourself with the manual lowering procedure in case of power failure. Practise this procedure regularly to ensure confidence in executing it swiftly and safely.
  • Communication Protocol: Establish clear communication channels with ground personnel for emergencies. Define specific signals or phrases that indicate an emergency situation and require immediate action.
  • Evacuation Plan: Identify the nearest exit points and establish a designated meeting area for emergencies. Ensure that all personnel know the evacuation plan and rehearse it periodically.

End of Day Safety Checks:

As the end of the day nears, safety protocol must be maintained. Be sure to wrap up the workday with these crucial checks:

Clean and Inspect Your Cherry Picker

Remove any debris or spills from the cherry picker. Perform a comprehensive visual inspection for any signs of damage, wear, or loose components. Document and report any issues for immediate attention.

Proper Parking 

Park the cherry picker in the designated storage area, ensuring it’s on stable ground and adequately secured. MEWPs should be switched off, and keys should be removed. Should an emergency occur, it’s essential that equipment used for firefighting or first aid, for example,  are not blocked and emergency routes are clear.

Need Advice or Guidance for Working Safely and Effectively on a Cherry Picker?

We pride ourselves on our approach to safety. That’s why, besides this blog, we have a range of articles on working safely at height on MEWPs. Of course, essential powered access training will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge. However, our experts are happy to offer MEWP safety advice and guidance. 

To discover more about choosing the right cherry picker for your requirements, browse our extensive and dependable range, or get in touch if you have any questions, and one of our dedicated team members will be happy to assist you.