Man baskets, or suspended platforms, are fixed to cranes and derricks and used to lift workers into the air. Man baskets are used when safer means of access, including ladders and scaffolds, cannot be used. Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1926.550(g) governs the use of man baskets, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidance based on this regulation.
Man baskets must be designed by a qualified engineer. OSHA requires that man baskets be capable of supporting their own weight and five times the maximum intended load, both of which should be clearly indicated on the basket. Man baskets must be surrounded by a guard rail that is solid to mid-rail height, to prevent falls and keep tools from falling on workers beneath the basket. Access gates should open inward and have safety latches that prevent accidental opening. Additionally, man basket design should allow adequate headroom for workers.
Loads must not exceed the maximum load designation marked on the man basket, and lines supporting the basket must be capable of supporting at least seven times the intended load. OSHA requires that tools and materials be secured and spread evenly over the basket’s floor to prevent tipping. Only workers trained in the task to be performed should be permitted in the man basket when it is hoisted.
Bridles, links and shackles are parts of the rigging system that attaches the man basket to the crane or derrick and provide safety measures to prevent the basket from falling or tipping. OSHA requires that the man basket’s load be evenly positioned among bridle legs to avoid placing excessive strain on one leg. The rigging system supporting the man basket must be used only for that purpose, and all hooks and attachment mechanisms must be capable of closing and locking to avoid the possibility that a hook may open while the basket is suspended.
Inspections and Tests
Before each use of a man basket, the platform should be loaded to its anticipated weight for the upcoming job and lifted to the height of each location where work will be performed. All controls and safety device--on the crane or derrick and the man basket--should be checked to ensure they are working properly. After workers enter the basket--but before they are fully hoisted--the man basket should be lifted a few inches and inspected to ensure rigging lines are clear of obstructions and are not kinked, the primary rigging attachment is centered over the basket, weight is spaced evenly in the basket, and that the crane or derrick remains stable.
Employers are responsible for meeting with workers and reviewing OSHA safety requirements before hoisting operations begin, and informing new employees of safety regulations as they join the job site.
Workers should keep all body parts inside the man basket while it is being lifted, positioned and lowered, and should ensure the basket is secured before entering or leaving it. Workers should wear a personal fall arrest system, and hard hats should be worn at all times to protect workers from falling objects.