When ARA Insurance Preferred Agent Gates Goza visits a rental operation with mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) in its fleet, he immediately looks for specific aspects that must be in place for rental operations to comply with the new American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards for MEWPs.
“I always check to see whether proper inspections of the equipment have been done, that the inspection decals are placed on the equipment so they can be seen clearly, that the equipment works as specified in the manual and a manual is easily accessible on each piece of equipment. There are many important aspects to review, but these are very critical,” says Goza, owner, the Goza Agency, with locations in Hattiesburg, Miss.; Calhoun, La.; and Parkdale, Ark.
A key element of compliance is training. “For the rental store, employees need to know everything about the machine so they can properly familiarize their customers with the equipment and have those important conversations with their customers because, when it comes to MEWP compliance and safety, everyone has responsibilities,” he says.
Understanding those mutual responsibilities can start with customer conversations at the time of booking. “Rental employees need to ask whether their customer has created a safe-use plan and has done a risk assessment of the job site, whether there will be more than one MEWP on the location and how far the site is from a fire station, etc. Because if someone has fallen from a MEWP and is in a harness, OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] recommends that that person needs to be attended to within six minutes. After 15 minutes, the blood starts pooling into the veins, which causes real problems,” Goza says.
Goza offers his clients a checklist to assist in this effort, covering:
- Unloading and loading.
- Familiarization with the equipment and how it operates.
- Load limits.
- The height the machine is going up.
- The number of people on the work platform.
- Whether the machine will be on level or rough terrain.
- Whether it will be going up or down a ramp.
- The weight limit.
- The power source.
- The impact of wind.
- The job site, noting that it needs to be assessed to identify any hazards.
He also suggests rental operators contact the manufacturer to see whether they have any machine-specific checklists they can offer customers.
In addition, Goza says rental operators need to make sure:
- The equipment is properly inspected and that the inspection is recorded on the equipment, with the annual inspection — not to exceed 13 months — being certified.
- Proper instructions are provided to customers.
- The rental contract has been updated with the proper addendum related to MEWPs.
- Rental staff know how to inspect the machine on its return and attach a Ready-to-Rent tag so everything is properly signed, documented and easily retrievable. “This is where 360-degree cameras also are helpful, not only to help inspect the machine when it returns to see whether any damage has been done while it has been out on rent but also when it leaves the rental operation to see that it was fine going out,” Goza says.
Because compliance is so multifaceted and rental operators have been pulled in so many directions during the pandemic, from dealing with labor shortages to supply chain issues, Goza is excited
that the American Rental Association (ARA) is offering Certified MEWP Train the Trainer and Certified MEWP Operator courses in conjunction with state chapters.
“I applaud ARA for providing this training. We have a lot of new people coming to the industry who need to be trained. People need to grasp this training to make sure they are in compliance. Being trained and in compliance will make them a safer operation, allowing them to rent more,” he says.