With new safety standards in force for passenger vehicle safety in India, it is time to address norms for working at heights for ensuring worker safety. After all, it is about protecting precious human lives.

The passenger automobile industry has come a long way to introduce a host of mandatory safety standards such as air bags, ABS, seat belt warning, speed warning and crash sets, in view of the dubious distinction of India having the highest road fatalities in the world. It is said that India by 2023, will even have more stringent car safety norms than the US.

Our country is making rapid economic progress and it becomes imperative that occupational safety is given its due importance to protect human lives than on saving costs on procuring safety equipment. Unfortunately, India is one among the few countries where safety at work is given less importance.

Among occupational work hazards, falling from height has become one of the biggest causes of occupational fatalities and major injuries across the world. Work at height means work in any place where, if precautions were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. You are working at height if you: work above ground/floor level, could fall from an edge, through an opening or fragile surface or could fall from ground level into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground. The exact height at which employers have to implement controls will vary from country to country, however in the absence of working at heights standards in India, we follow either the UK, European or US norms.

Workers at the time of periodic or emergency maintenance procedures carry the risk of falling from height. Professions such as painters, decorators, electricians and window cleaners and those who carry out ad hoc work without proper training, planning or equipment carry the maximum risk. However the fact remains, whatever the task, any working at height needs to be planned well in advance and not an ad hoc decision. Careful consideration needs to be given to the selection and use of work equipment and adequate training.

While aluminium scaffolding systems are one of the safest, most economical, modular and versatile mechanism to reach and work at heights, an aerial work platform is a mechanical device used to provide temporary access for people or equipment to inaccessible areas, usually at height. Whatever the selection, the end objective of any project is timely completion and hence use of traditional methods of accessing heights is not only unsafe but time consuming too.

The aerial working platform sector in India is still to mature as compared to developed countries primarily because India being a labour intensive market, there is a growing tendency to resort to the ‘jugad’ method, paying scant respect to the worker’s safety taking advantage of lack of safety regulations and their enforcement. Acceptance for these machines becomes a hurdle due to their high costs and indifferent attitude to safety by buyers. For example it is common to see stack ladders being used by linesman in power transmission companies to fix power lines. Hence before recommending these options, a lot of time and effort goes in educating customers on the benefits whether for indoor or outdoor work.

India is one of the fastest growing economies with a thriving commercial real estate sector development and as the awareness grows and legislations are put in place, aerial working platforms will soon become a necessity than as a supporting equipment for malls, offices, hotels, hospitals, educational institutions, multiplexes, airports, metros, railway stations for facility management and manufacturing, engineering, electrification, maintenance and emergency services.

Mtandt is the pioneer in bringing aerial working platform technology in India for safe working at height offering their widest range as per working parameter, country of origin, price and value proposition. Sold in every region, private or government sector, Mtandt is backed by India’s largest access equipment rental company. Mtandt is also the world’s leading and most cost-effective producer of aluminium scaffolding systems.

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