Aerial Lifts

Using Aerial Lifts Safely

aerial-lifts2Aerial lifts, vehicle-mounted devices used to elevate construction workers are popular in the industry due to their mobility and flexibility. They are however responsible for many serious and even fatal injuries. Falls, tip-overs and hazardous contact with overhead material are just a few of the dangers that can occur.

Replacing ladders and scaffolding with aerial lifts can afford more efficiency in construction projects, but training is paramount when it comes to operating these machines safety. OSHA recommends thoroughly reviewing the manufacturer’s requirements for operation, including maximum intended load capacity.

Basic training for aerial lifts also includes:

  • Ensure that access gates or openings are closed.
  • Stand firmly on the floor of the bucket or lift platform.
  • Do not climb on or lean over guardrails or handrails.
  • Do not use planks, ladders, or other devices as a working position.
  • Use a body harness or a restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or bucket.
  • Do not belt-off to adjacent structures or poles while in the bucket.

Insulated aerial lifts offer protection from electric shock and electrocution by isolating workers from electrical ground. However, an insulated aerial lift does not protect workers if there is another path to ground (for instance, if an individual touches another wire). To maintain the effectiveness of the insulating device, do not drill holes in the bucket.

Overhead protection is also a major safety concern with aerial lifts. Specifically, OSHA recommends:

  • Be aware of overhead clearance and overhead objects, including ceilings.
  • Do not position aerial lifts between overhead hazards if possible.
  • Treat all overhead power lines and communication cables as energized, and stay at least 10 away.
  • Ensure that the power utility or power line workers de-energize power lines in the vicinity of the work.

For more information on keeping your construction site and workers safe, contact our offices at Diversified Safety Services.

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