MEWPs, cherry pickers, access platforms - all traditionally thought of as machines used in the construction sector, but in the relatively well developed UK market powered access is spreading to many more sectors, resulting in the promotion of improved safety and productivity to retail, manufacturing, health, education, and services sectors.
When I applied to enter the powered access industry, one of the first things my interviewer explained to me was that the potential customer base for powered access is anyone who needs to reach higher than they can standing on the ground. That's a very broad customer base by any industry's standards!
In the UK the challenge of the last decade has been to spread the safety and productivity benefits of powered access equipment to new sectors:
- Retail - for stock replenishment, visual merchandising, and facilities maintenance
- Manufacturing - for loading hoppers, blockage clearance, and both line and facilities maintenance
- Health - for maintaining clean facilities, hanging of bed curtains, high-level cleaning, and general maintenance
- Education - as PFI buildings come on line the demands for reaching higher to maintain and clean facilities is ever increasing, and the demand is for safe ways to complete
- Services sectors - every office has services located above desk height, resulting in the need to reach over and above those desks
The good news is that more and more members of the powered access industry are recognising this wider market for their products some, like HLS , are even designing product specifically for these more finished environments.
As an industry we can be responsible for an overall improvement in productivity of operatives carrying out work at height, as well as a reduction in incidents and accidents involving working at height:
Surely this is a goal worth working towards?
What do you think - should the industry focus more on spreading the word outside of our traditional customer base, or do we rely so much on business from those traditional sectors that we can't afford our attention to wander elsewhere?