December 12, 2018 | By JETechnology Staff
Workers in several different industries need safe access to hard-to-reach places. And whether it be to stock inventory or inspect and maintain equipment, safety and functionality are always necessities. Industrial work stands and platforms let workers perform their jobs to the fullest while minimizing the risk of a slip or fall.
Mechanics and managers from the military to business and commercial sectors use work stands because they offer the best solution for their access needs. Being a professional means not compromising for anything less than the most functional tools and equipment. With the right tools, you protect your employees, and they preserve valuable assets with more effective work. Everyone wins.
If you work with or manage a team of professionals that could benefit from professional work stands and are looking to take your maintenance routine to the next level — this guide is for you. We’ll cover the basics of professional work stands — the different types, features and how to choose the right one for your operation.
Here at JETechnology, we produce industrial work stands for professionals across many different industries. A few examples of sectors in which our customers use our work stands include:
- Medical — For servicing large and sensitive pieces of medical equipment, technicians need proper access to hard-to-reach areas. When working with highly-technical machinery for long periods, a stable work platform is essential for maintenance and calibration.
- Oil and Gas — Mechanics in the oil and gas industries frequently work on large machinery high off the ground. They need to access these areas safely and with all of their tools. And with surfaces that can become covered in water and oil, they need a stable work surface with slip-resistant walkways.
- Manufacturing — Warehouses and assembly lines require workers to access different areas and machinery regularly — they use a system of lifts and work platforms to get the job done right. To work efficiently in fast-paced businesses like these, there’s no substitute for highly functional, reliable equipment.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration — OSHA — reports that 38.7 percent of worker fatalities in the construction industry are from falls. It’s our goal to work with OSHA to reduce workplace accidents in all sectors. No matter what industry you work in, your difficult access problems have a safe solution. OSHA has helped to reduce the number of daily fall-related fatalities by over half over the last 46 years, and we strive to help further this trend.
Types of Industrial Work Platforms
There are many different types of work stands available, and the right solution depends on your unique requirements. You can categorize industrial work platforms into three categories — portable, stationary and adjustable. The right combination of these will allow your workers ergonomic access to even the most awkward areas.
- Portable Work Platforms
When you need safe access to hard-to-reach places across your worksite, a portable work platform or stand is an invaluable tool. For stocking inventory or routine maintenance, it’s unsafe to rely on shakey equipment like ladders and just-too-short stepstools. These types of platforms include mobile units like lifts, adjustable platforms and steps.
- Stationary Work Platforms
For ongoing access to the same elevated or awkward area, a stationary work platform might be the best solution for you. Instead of moving equipment from spot to spot for a big project, workers can move freely around their work area and easily store their tools. We offer these types of stands with electrical and pneumatic power interfacing for tools.
If you have a long-term project or ongoing maintenance needs, you may want to consider investing in a stationary work stand to give your employees a safe and efficient work environment.
- Adjustable Work Platforms
Adjustable work platforms are essentially a hybrid between stationary and portable supports. They can attach to stationary stands as a modular unit, or they can detach to function as a mobile work platform. So if your work environment needs both stationary and mobile units, there are options available to combine the two.
Will a Custom or Pre-Fab Platform Option Work Best?
Once you decide which type of work platform is right for your operation, the next step is to determine if you need a custom platform or a combination of pre-fab modular units. Let’s take a look at the differences.
1. Pre-Fab Modular Platforms
For simpler access solutions, a modular platform may be enough. Since these platforms are already designed and built, all you have to do is select the right one and integrate it into your routine. However, finding an adequate work platform can be difficult for anything more than simple maintenance needs. If it isn’t perfect, don’t buy it — your employees will thank you, and you can avoid replacing it later with a better solution.
These type of platforms are perfect for simple work — like elevating a worker to operate machinery or access a switchgear raised above the walking surface.
Pros of this design include:
- No design and manufacturing time
- Less expensive than custom solutions
A couple of the cons are that these platforms:
- Are not customizable
- Have limited uses
- Custom Platforms
If your access needs are more complex, a custom solution may be the best option for you. You get to determine all of the specifications — the height of the rails, number of stairs, tool interfacing capabilities and more. A custom-tailored access solution means it fits seamlessly into your operation. If you have questions about the process, one of our engineers will walk you through every step, from design to implementation and user training.
Pros of this platform option include being:
- Fully customizable
- Most efficient for your workers
A couple of the cons include:
- Time to design and manufacture
- More costly than pre-fab stands
Besides the type of platform you choose and its design, there are different options for materials and construction. Depending on your purposes, you can order work stands made from aluminum, carbon steel or stainless steel for premade and custom options. The type of material that’s best for your support depends on the load capacity and degree of mobility needed for your work.
Our aluminum stands feature anti-skid surfaces and heavy-duty guardrails. Constructed with a robust and lightweight build, they’re easy for personnel to move to and from each work area.
We must stress again not to choose a solution that’s just short of perfect. A sense of security is essential for your mechanics to perform their job the right way. If there’s anything awkward about a work environment, workers have to compensate and are less efficient and less safe.
Features of Industrial Work Stands
There are several different features available for custom and prefab work stands. The following features are what make professional work platforms essential tools for any operation:
- Non-Slip Deck Material — Slip-and-fall prevention means having a reliable place to stand. If your mechanics work with oily liquids or at awkward angles and heights, non-slip grip ensures they can work securely. This feature is ideal for stands used for working outdoors, cleaning or with water use.
- Adjustable Height — Technicians can quickly change the height of work stands to access different work areas safely.
- Tool Interfacing — Work stands can be designed with integration of electrical and pneumatic tool power. This means you can avoid using long extension cords and tubing that create safety hazards.
- Portability — Lightweight stands with wheels can be moved to different work areas quickly and easily by just a couple of workers.
- Adjustable Handrails — Different jobs require different types of access from your platform. With adjustable handrails, your workers stay protected and unhindered in their work.
- Tool Storage Compartments — Mechanics can store their tools properly in storage areas instead of leaving them on walkways and creating tripping hazards. Also, it makes it easy to resume a job when all of their tools are already in the work area, as opposed to storing them away from the worksite and retrieving them again.
- Integrated Lighting — In dimly-lit areas and for fine adjustments, workers need adjustable lighting to see what they’re doing. Having one right on the work stand eliminates the need for awkward hanging lights. Also, deck lighting on work platforms in dimly-lit areas helps protect against missteps.
- Weather-Proof Coatings — For platforms that need to stand up to the elements, weatherproofing keeps the equipment fully-functional even if you leave it outside.
- Polyurethane-Coated Casters — Heavy-duty rotating casters support your work platform and allow for fine adjustments of placement within work areas.
How to Choose an Industrial Work Stand
Now that you know the capabilities and the types of work platforms, how do you choose the right one for your application? Every operation is unique and requires its own solution. If you would like to speak to one of our qualified engineers, we can guide you through the process and offer suggestions for your operation. Here are a few steps that can help you choose the right work stands:
- Talk to Your Technicians
Often, the best place to start to determine your access needs is by talking to your employees. They intimately know what every operation takes, and they probably have an opinion on how to improve it with better support equipment — not to mention that everyone likes to know their input has value to their company.
- Examine Your Work Area
Your work area may dictate the right work stand for your facility. Space and storage limitations may mean your support equipment needs to be compact and easily stored, or you may have room for a large, permanent work stand setup.
- Think About Load Capacity
Determine the load capacity your equipment will need to comply with OSHA safe working requirements. How many workers typically need to be in the same area at once? How much equipment will they need with them? Once you answer these types of questions, you’ll be able to choose a stand with the structure and materials that suit your needs.
- Consider Multiple Design Options
If you’re choosing a custom work stand, maximizing functionality in your design is imperative to let your technicians work effectively. Consider additional features you may want as well as those you don’t need. Does the design of your stand hinder any other operations? Is there another functional design that doesn’t take up as much space? With custom options, you have the freedom to choose exactly how your stand is set up.
- Think About Where Your Stand Will Be
Will this stand be on uneven ground or a flat floor of a warehouse? There’s a stand best suited to every type of environment, and choosing the right one is imperative to maintaining a safe, stable platform. For mobile support, large wheels and leveling technology help keep working surfaces stable and level.
- Think About Multiple Stands Instead of Just One
Sometimes you can best solve your work stand situation with a combination of stationary stands and mobile units. Try to maximize the functionality of your maintenance setup and get a system of supports with potential for versatility.
- Look to the Future
Account for future projects in which you’ll need a work stand to give yourself enough time. If you foresee needing a large or more advanced maintenance stand with additional capabilities down the road, it may smart to design it now, as the design, manufacturing and setup process can take some time. Planning allows for a smoother transition into using your new equipment.
- Take Your Time
When designing and implementing new support equipment, don’t rush through the process. Take your time to understand what your employees need and the limitations of each piece of support equipment. While your employees may be able to get by with less-than-ideal support equipment, it might not be the best solution. And to prevent falls and accidents, you don’t want your employees using equipment in ways other than its intended function.
The right solution depends entirely on you, and we’re here to help you figure out the best ground support solution for your operations.
Industrial Work Platforms From JETechnology Solutions
At JETechnology Solutions, we have more than seven decades of combined experience in designing, engineering and manufacturing industrial work stands. With a dedication to Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Air Force Office of Safety and Health standards, as well as multiple certifications — such as ISO 9001 — we ensure the quality of our custom products.
Whether you’re in the market for a steel work stand or an aluminum work stand, our team can work with you to deliver it within your budget and deadline. Upon request, we’ll also visit your worksite and make sure your transition into using your new equipment is seamless. We make lifelong business relationships because we work hard for our customers.
We select the best material based upon your specific requirements, and we always verify our designs with engineering calculations, Finite Element Analysis, and proof loading. Our quality assurance team inspects the materials of construction of our raw material and components, and our QA team also vets all our material suppliers. That way, we know we are using only the best materials possible for your industrial work stands, as well as complying with our standards for manufacturing products from concept to completion.
All of our work stands undergo testing before, during and after manufacturing to confirm their quality and safety for your team. Our engineers simulate drops, heat transfer, fluid flow and fatigue in all our stands to ensure quality, safe results.