Bright Idea #6 Trailer Lift

| |
COHP, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Summary Statement

Workers created a lift that can be attached to a trailer to load and unload a plate compactor, reducing back strain for a reasonable cost of about $60. Part of a collection. Click on the 'collection' button to access the other items.
January 2002

The problem: equipment too heavy to lift properly

Plate compactors are often used in road repair work. They weigh almost 200 pounds. The plate compactor has to be loaded and unloaded from a trailer. That means even when two people lift it, each has to lift 100 pounds. "Everybody was hurt in the back," Jamie Gagnon who works for Martin Welding Company in Lowell said. He explained that his job is not different from other crew members, even though he is a foreman in charge of equipment. His truck has been pulling the trailer on which the lift was installed.

 The process: "we already knew."

The crew investigated lifting equipment. A construction equipment manufacturer showed them an electric lift, which was fancy but not affordable. Cost was the biggest barrier as the nicer lifts went for $300 ~ $ 650. Jamie added, "We needed a cheap and inexpensive way for a solution."

How did they get the idea? " It just came out of our head. We knew we needed a better way. We have been in this business for so long. We thought, and everybody looked at each other, and it's like ‘we need a lift', ‘we need a lift.' We needed something to make it easier." They didn't even hesitate.

The solution: "a trailer lift"

 Finally, Jamie and the crew decided to create a lift and attach it to the trailer. The company allowed them to construct the lift when they showed that the lift would be simple and cheap. There was no trial and error. It was finished in one shot.

They already knew what they needed. Also they knew how to design, how to cut and how to weld.

"We have welders, we have laborers, and we have a couple of guys who were used to doing the job." Jamie added.

He was pleased to share this Bright Idea with all construction workers and said " Everybody loves it. This version? Maybe 60 bucks. That's it"

If you want to have this kind of lift, you just need a rotating pillar, a wheel and a pipe arm. And you already have the skill to erect, assemble and make it work!

Using this bright idea...

This kind of lift can be used in other construction trades. It can be used by workers who frequently handle small and heavy construction equipments, which have to be lifted or carried away.
Credits: Jamie Gagnon, Martin Welding Co.
  731 Dutton St.
  Lowell, MA 01854
Date: January, 2002

For more information, or to comment on this Bright Idea...
Write, phone or send e-mail or a fax to:
Phone: (978) 934-3351
Fax: (978) 452-5711

This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, through CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training.