Why will 19ft Scissor Lifts have Folding Rails?
The new suite of ANSI standards went into effect on June 1st 2020. This suite of standards brings the US market now more closely aligned with Canadian and European standards of equipment. For scissor lifts the main areas affected are the addition of live load sense, stricter testing standards, and higher rail requirements. These higher rail requirements have now caused the majority of aerial manufacturers to make folding rails standard on their 19ft, and taller machines. Beyond the costs associated, these new complex rail systems are introducing additional hazards in use around the United States.
The Cost to Engineer Folding Rails
In addition to the large engineering costs the new standards imposed, there are also significant material costs associated. Hydraulic cylinders now need additional components to properly load sense, the controllers need to be able to calculate more real time data, and the higher rail sets require additional material to reach the required heights. These additions are driving high cost increases, and will translate to higher equipment costs for rental companies throughout North America. Ultimately these costs will be passed on through higher rental rates and more expensive equipment for the contractor when purchase new. These are among the many costs contractors wrestle in order to keep their projects on budget.
The Cost to Use Folding Rails
While some costs can be calculated easily there are others that will vary depending on the size of project, duration, and specific labor rate. The labor rate applicable will fluctuate depending on region, specialty, and many other factors but for this case’s example we will use a company’s loaded cost of $70/hour. The average machine will meet many standard size doors which cause many operators to get off their 19ft. scissor lifts, perform a labor intensive rail folding procedure, move through the doorway, then reverse the long process to properly set the rails in their upright position. Many manufacturers procedure require more than 10 steps and take approximately 15 minutes to complete from start to finish before the work can begin on the other side of the door. Utilizing our $70/hour rate, and a machine meeting 3 doorways per day on a long-term project of 6 months the new higher folding rails will cost approximately $6,300 PER MACHINE on site. This $6,300 estimate is only representative of direct labor costs and do not include the rework costs which are also present when machines are not properly stowed/folded, which also cause damage to doorways and surrounding areas.
The Cost of Worker's Safety
The new complex rail folding systems also introduce a large range of safety hazards when the folding procedure begins. In order to pass through doorways most machines require the rails to either fold forward, or within themselves. In order to complete this, either pins or other locking mechanisms must be engaged or pulled which introduces pinch points while pulling pins (hoping none are missing from the machine), and while folding the rails into the platform itself. While the rails are not only a hazard while folding down, they are also only effective when placed back in the upright position. Unfortunately the temptation will be there on short jobs in tight areas to leave the rails folded, and reveals a whole new grouping of OSHA violations.
Avoid Hidden Costs...
The presence of folding rails brings to light a whole new level of risk, costs, and safety hazards never present on 19ft. machines before. While there are risk mitigations available through proper training and education the best risk mitigation is the elimination of the risk altogether. Enter Hy-Brid Lifts PS-1930. The PS-1930 is the only machine of its kind, with a stowed height below 76” it can access anywhere a normal human can walk, making threshold damage and doorway passages a breeze. The fixed rails ensure the operator is properly protected and meets all the new ANSI standards with ease. Selecting the PS-1930 will ensure your team is working efficiently, but most important remains safe and returning home everyday in the same way they reported for work that day.