The number of AWPs currently operating on job sites in the Middle East has grown incredibly fast over the last ten years, and with that the risks to the operator and surrounding environment has increased.
According to JLG, the biggest skill gap among operators and most common safety procedure ignored by them is the proper planning of AWPs on job sites, whether it is the transportation, route planning, loading and offloading, storing or charging of machines.
“We are seeing more and more machines working on sites and this in itself represents a hazard to the operators and those around them. Operators should spend more time on walk around inspections, doing the daily maintenance checks and detailed planning of how they will use the machine to get their jobs done,” says Ian Hume, sales director, MEA & India, JLG Industries.
“Technologies like BIM enable project managers to plan with greater accuracy the machine requirements at every stage of construction. JLGs BIM models are being used in projects globally, and the users are seeing tangible efficiencies and better safety awareness. Unfortunately, accidents continue to occur on sites that are 100% preventable if more planning was taken into account,” he adds.
One of the main reasons for such accidents is that operator training has not matched the influx of AWPs in the market.
“Although we are seeing the number of IPAF PAL cards increasing annually and more operators are getting certified through the JLG training program, the level of competency is still far below that required by the industry. Within our training programs, we are focusing more on the crucial time before an operator actually enters the basket. We’ve increased the training duration for basic safety procedures and emergency action plans in all of our training programs. Simultaneously, we are working with HSE managers across the Middle East to help them implement stronger procedures around the use of AWPs. This includes our participation in several IOSH and HSE conferences to raise awareness,” says Hume.
The applications of AWPs continue to increase as contractors and end-uses realise their safety and efficiency benefits.
“We have seen several key projects in the Middle East mandate the use of AWPs over scaffold wherever possible. We have also seen the adoption of JLG Power Tower products instead of podium scaffold due to the efficiencies that product range brings and also the safety aspect of having a rail surrounding the operator,” says Hume.
Hume elaborates on the new JLG machines and technologies coming to the Middle East. “This year we have started rolling out our industry leading Clearsky telematics technology which allows service teams to view the performance of the machine from their office in the rental depot. There are huge efficiencies that can be gained from this technology, not least being able to accurately locate the machine for pick up and drop off. JLG Clearsky can also be fitted with ‘Access Control’, which means a specific person(s) has the code to be able to unlock the machine for use. This can be a great tool to assure that the operator that has been trained is the one that will use it.”
This year, JLG also launched its ‘High Capacity’ range of diesel booms called HC3.
“The HC3 booms will give the user the ability to have three men in the basket at full outreach meaning they can enjoy industry leading basket outreach and capacity. We will have the 460SJ HC3 available before the end of the year with more HC3 models becoming available by April 2020. In some cases this will mean one machine will be able to do the job of two machines therefore increasing efficiency and with the ability to take more material with you in the basket the job could be completed faster,” says Hume.
“We have also launched the SkySense system this year. The system uses sensors on the basket of the scissor or boom. The sensors create a virtual bubble around the basket that will give the operator a visual and audible warning when they approach an object. The machine will also stop before impacting the object, increasing the operators’ awareness of their surroundings and allowing them to take appropriate action,” he adds.
JLG offers three different options for secondary guarding on its boom lift range. Customers can now choose between SkyGuard, Skyline or SkyEye. All three will have the ability to retract the machine from an object if impact does occur.
One of JLGs biggest announcements this year was the launch of its EC boom range.
"The EC boom will give the user the same power as a rough terrain diesel boom lift but will be running 100% on lithium powered batteries. The EC booms will have non-marking tyres as standard and offer a machine free of emissions and noise therefore can be used for indoor and outdoor applications. In spring 2020, the EC340AJ, EC450AJ and EC520AJ models will be available in the region. Some of the other new technologies and products we have launched are the X33JP compact crawler, Power Tower Duo, Mobile Control (Wireless Control for Scissors), JLG BIM library, variable tilt on JLG electric R-scissors, R Series scissors full range, and DSP-M stock picker,” says Hume.
Hume shares his growth projections for the AWP rental market in the Middle East. “We have seen very fast growth of the industry over the last 5 years in the Middle East, especially within the UAE. We expect to see a continuation of this growth, but not at the same rate as previous years. We expect rental companies to have more diverse fleets with increased demand for ultra booms, Power Towers and compact crawlers. We are also seeing a higher demand for electric and diesel-powered scissor lifts across the region that we expect to continue as the adoption of scissors from facility maintenance, MEP and steel erection increases year on year.”
“The need to be efficient in your operations and getting the maximum out of your rental will become more and more important as the industry becomes more competitive. JLG will continue to try and bring machines and technologies that offer the rental market industry leading retained value, product reliability and operator safety within a strong support ecosystem,” says Hume.