Best Safety Practices for Aerial Lifts
Aerial lifts are vehicle-mounted machines with extendable platforms to elevate personnel. Lifts are ideal for projects where scaffolding isn’t an option, such as roofs or HVAC equipment. Lifts are safety hazards, accounting for up to 3% of all construction-related deaths. Knowing the dangers of aerial lifts and becoming familiar with the safety requirements provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can ensure your workers are safe the next time they use an aerial lift on a job site.
Types of Aerial Lifts
Understanding the different types of aerial lifts is essential for proper job safety. Here are the three main types of aerial lifts available and their best applications:
Articulated Boom Lift
Articulated boom lifts have a flexible jointed arm attached to a turntable. Boom lifts can extend from 30 to over 100 feet in the air, allowing workers to access high and hard-to-reach places. Articulated boom lifts are commonly used for electrical projects and exterior cleaning.
Telehandlers offer horizontal reach capabilities that exceed most other equipment. Telehandlers are equipped with a boom tip that allows the quick installation and removal of various attachments. Their versatility makes telehandlers ideal for construction projects.
Scissor lifts are large platforms that provide a working height of 18 to 38 feet. This aerial platform is perfect for indoor maintenance or construction tasks.
Aerial Lift Hazards
If you’re a construction worker and work with aerial lifts, it’s essential to know the safety hazards associated with them.
Electrocutions can happen when working close to power wires. An electric shock can even transfer to you from your equipment if it isn’t electrically insulated.
Falls From the Lift
Falls are one of the most significant hazards when working with aerial lifts. Working in high winds or on unstable ground can increase the risk of falling.
Working at high heights can increase the risk of tipping over. Failing to inspect or properly set up the equipment, as well as working in strong winds, can also cause tip-overs.
Though workers on the lift are at risk of injuries from falling objects, those working on the ground near the equipment need to be especially careful. Careless workers, high winds, and accidents can lead to dangerous items falling out of the lift.
Ejections from an aerial lift can occur when the lift hits an overhead object, when something on the ground strikes the vehicle, or when the lift tips over. Workers ejected from the lift are susceptible to severe injuries or even death.
Protecting the safety of your coworkers is a top priority for HTX Material Handling. Contact us today to see how our products can give you peace of mind.
OSHA Aerial Lift Safety Requirements
OSHA has released a series of standard safety requirements to prevent accidents involving aerial lifts. Following these aerial lift safety tips will keep your workers safe.
Safety Requirements Before Using an Aerial Lift
Reading the aerial lift safety manual is an important first step in ensuring a safe working environment for everyone. After familiarizing yourself with the manual, verify that the equipment and its features are in working order. You need to confirm the operational status of the following components before using the lift:
Some issues with vehicle components are visible immediately, like a flat tire. Other vehicle components you need to be aware of are:
- The oil and fuel are at proper levels
- There are no fluid leaks
- Tires are in good condition
- The battery is fully charged
- Lights and backup alarms are operational
- Steering and brakes are functional
Once you’ve verified the vehicle’s safety, check to make sure the lift itself is ready for use. That includes:
- Checking for loose or missing parts
- Confirming the strength of wiring harnesses
- Making sure there are no missing or unreadable warning placards
- Practicing the operating and emergency controls
Do not operate a lift if any of the vehicle or lift components are defective. You must remove a defective aerial lift from the work area until it’s repaired.
Once you’ve confirmed that the vehicle and lift are safe to use, it’s time to inspect your work zone. Accidents can still happen even with equipment that meets safety standards, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. When checking your work zone area, be on the lookout for:
- Drop-offs or holes
- Slopes, ditches, or bumps
- Overhead power lines
- Potentially severe weather conditions
Practicing proper safety precautions before using an aerial lift can prevent serious accidents.
Safety Requirements While Using an Aerial Lift
Using safety techniques continues to be a priority once you’ve started using the aerial lift. Be sure to remember these protection practices the next time you’re in a lift:
- Ensure that all gates are closed
- Do not climb or lean over guardrails
- Do not use planks or ladders in the lift
- Use a body harness with a lanyard attached to the lift
- Do not exceed weight limits
- Do not carry objects larger than the platform
- Do not override safety devices
- Do not drive with the lift platform raised
- Always be aware of overhead clearance
- Treat all overhead power wires as energized
- Do not position the lift between hazards
Safety Is a Priority at HTX Material Handling
The safety of our clients is a top priority at HTX Material Handling. That’s why we offer equipment that exceeds safety standards. The advanced technological features our aerial lifts provide will help your employees feel safer while working. Contact HTX today to see how our products can increase aerial lift safety for your workers.