Aerial Lift Safety
Aerial lifts such as scissor and boom lifts are an essential component for performing trade work throughout the construction industry. As helpful and vital as they are they can present numerous safety hazards if workers are not properly trained and do not follow ANSI and manufacture safety policy, procedures, and requirements. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, there are approximately 26 aerial lift accidents annually. These accidents can be reduced or eliminated by following the proper safety precautions.
Common Causes of Aerial Lift Accidents
- The lift tipping over – Use of lifts that are improperly loaded or during bad weather greatly increases the risk of tip overs.
- Use under improper conditions – Do not operate the machinery in strong winds and ensure there are no hazards that put them at greater risk of toppling over. These include holes and/or depressions in the working surface.
- Contact with Power Lines – The leading cause of injury and fatality from aerial lifts is accidental electrocution from power lines. This reinforces why spotters and safety training is essential for any company and workers that uses aerial lifts.
- Falls – Many aerial lifts can extend up to 40 feet, with other models capable of reaching heights of more than 100 feet meaning accidental falls off the aerial lift is a common cause of injury and death. Employees can fall off aerial lifts due to wind, bumping the lift, and other incidents. Wearing proper safety equipment such as fall protection is essential when using any lift.
Aerial Lift Safety Tips
- Proper training is crucial for employees working with heavy equipment like aerial lifts. Every individual working with and around aerial lifts must have knowledge of how the machines work, how to operate them properly, and the appropriate safety procedures necessary to operate them safely. This needs to be completed before the worker begins operating a lift to create a healthy safety habit among employees, which can greatly reduce injuries and accidents.
Regular and Comprehensive Inspections
- Ensuring the equipment is functioning properly and everything is in proper working condition is a vital aspect of aerial lift safety. This starts by inspecting all parts of the vehicle to make sure nothing needs maintenance.
- You also need to ensure all the emergency stops are functioning properly while inspecting the lift. That way if something does go wrong despite the thorough vehicle inspection, you can rest assured there are fail-safes in place.
- This also means inspecting the area around the aerial lift. It’s important to assess the area where you plan on using the lift to ensure there aren’t any unnecessary safety hazards abound. Some items to look for:
- Indoors – Adequate ceiling height and other overhead hazards.
- Outdoors – Check for drop-offs, holes, ditches, and anything else that could put workers at risk.
- Use aerial safety inspection checklists to document the inspection of the lifts and the work area.
Always follow the best safety practices
- Creating a healthy and safe environment with a safety-oriented culture is crucial in reducing accidents and injuries. Besides following the tips above and complying with OSHA regulation and ANSI guidelines this also means using whatever tools are at your disposal to improve safety in the workplace.
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