Evaluating the Stability of a Freestanding Mast Climbing Work Platform
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Evaluating the Stability of a Freestanding Mast Climbing Work Platform

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  • Alternative Title:
    J Safety Res
  • Description:
    Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWPs) are becoming more common at construction sites and are being used as an alternative to traditional scaffolding. Although their use is increasing, little to no published information exists on the potential safety hazards they could pose for workers. As a last line of defense, a personal fall-arrest system can be used to save a worker in a fall incident from the platform. There has been no published information on whether it is safe to use such a personal fall-arrest system with MCWPs. In this study, the issues of concern for occupational safety included: (a) the overall stability of the freestanding mast climber during a fall-arrest condition and (b) whether that fall-arrest system could potentially present safety hazards to other workers on the platform during a fall-arrest condition. This research project investigated those safety concerns with respect to the mast climber stability and the workers using it by creating fall-arrest impact forces that are transmitted to the equipment and by subsequently observing the movement of the mast climber and the working deck used by the workers. This study found that when the equipment was erected and used according to the manufacturer's recommendations during a fall-arrest condition, destabilizing forces were very small and there were no signs of potential of MCWP collapse. However, potential fall hazards could be presented to other workers on the platform during a fall arrest. Workers near an open platform are advised to wear a personal fall-arrest system to reduce the risk of being ejected. Due to the increasing use of MCWPs at construction sites, there is a corresponding need for evidence and science-based safety guidelines or regulations and further research should be conducted to continue to fill the knowledge gap with MCWP equipment.
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