Safely operating an aerial lift
By Ashleigh Petersen
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Safely operating an aerial lift

Take 5 for Safety is a monthly article designed to give equipment and event rental stores the information they need to conduct a five-minute safety meeting on a particular topic. Below are talking points for this month’s meeting. At the bottom of this article, you’ll find a sign-up sheet where attendance of the meeting can be recorded.

Introduction: An aerial lift is any vehicle-mounted device used to elevate personnel, including:

  • Extendable boom platforms
  • Aerial ladders
  • Articulating (jointed) boom platforms
  • Vertical towers
  • Any combination of the above

Hazards associated with aerial lifts that can lead to personal injury or death:

  • Fall from elevated level
  • Objects falling from lifts
  • Tip-overs
  • Ejections from the lift platform
  • Structural failures (collapses)
  • Electric shock (electrocutions)
  • Entanglement hazards
  • Contact with objects
  • Contact with ceilings and other overhead objects

What to do while operating an aerial lift
Fall protection:

  • 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.

Operation/traveling/loading:

  • Always look in the direction of travel.
  • Do not use the aerial lift as a crane.
  • Do not carry objects larger than the platform.
  • Do not exceed the load-capacity limits. Take the combined weight of the worker(s), tools and materials into account when calculating the load.
  • Do not drive with the lift platform raised unless the manufacturer’s instructions allow this.
  • Do not operate lower-level controls unless permission is obtained from the worker(s) in the lift except in emergencies.
  • Do not exceed vertical or horizontal reach limits.
  • Do not operate an aerial lift in high winds above those recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Do not override hydraulic, mechanical or electrical safety devices.

Overhead protection:

  • Be aware of overhead clearance and overhead objects.
  • 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 ft. away.
  • Ensure that the power utility or power line workers de-energize power lines in the vicinity of the work.

Stability in the work zone:

  • Set outriggers on pads or on a level, solid surface.
  • Set brakes when outriggers are used.
  • Use wheel chocks on sloped surfaces when it is safe to do so.
  • Set up work zone warnings, such as cones and signs, when necessary to warn others.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Ashleigh Petersen

Ashleigh PetersenAshleigh Petersen

Ashleigh Petersen is the digital communications manager for Rental Management. She writes news and feature articles, plus coordinates the monthly Safety Issue and several sections in the magazine. Ashleigh loves spending time with her husband and young son, baking, gardening and listening to true crime and comedy podcasts.

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