Photo Courtesy of Haulotte
The Activ'Shield Bar can detect when the operator is trapped.

Responding to a growing demand for safety devices that protect aerial-work-platform operators from getting crushed by overhead objects, French-based Haulotte has introduced its Activ'Shield Bar, which is now available across much of its lineup of telescoping, articulating and vertical lifts.

The new crash bar senses when the operator's body begins to press tightly against the platform's control panel. In its first 18° of motion, the bar provides an audible warning. Beyond that point, the bar shuts down machine functions and enables the operator to move out of the crush zone.

The device is easy to use and, when tripped, does not cut into productivity. A reset button on the platform allows the operator to switch the machine back on, unlike other machines that require the operator to lower the basket to the ground first, the company notes. This fall, officials from Haulotte's North American subsidiary demonstrated it to ENR at the Lift and Access Showcase in Las Vegas.

Some general contractors, such as Skanska U.K., have recently made it a policy to equip platforms with crush protections. With the Activ'Shield Bar, Haulotte joins other manufacturers in calling such devices "secondary guarding," rather than "anti-entrapment," measures, an acknowledgement that the bars do not prevent operators from getting trapped but help them escape from danger.

"It basically prevents the operator from getting injured or dying," says Cyrus Copenhaver, Haulotte North America's product-line manager. Offered as an option, the safety feature costs up to $2,800 retail per unit, he adds. The device also is retrofittable on models produced in 2008 and later.