The number one rule of safe aerial lift operation is:
We avoid hazardous situations by first identifying them in the safety section of the manufacturers’ model specific operator’s manual for the mobile elevating work platform to be operated.
Proper training, common sense and planning can help you avoid hazards associated with aerial lift operation. Let’s discuss the four primary hazards associated with aerial lift operation one at a time.
Full body harness fall protection with fall arrest and fall restraint lanyards are required on boom lifts, but as safety protocols increase, most companies are calling for aerial lift operators to wear Personal Fall Protection Equipment on scissor lifts and vertical mast lifts as well. Be sure to check with your employer to make certain you follow job site and governmental agency specific requirements.
These include hazards to the aerial lift and surrounding areas as well as personnel collisions that result in injury.
Information regarding the required clearance from all power sources can be found in the operator’s manual and on safety decals attached to the machine.
Be especially aware of working near high voltage overhead power lines. These lines are most often not insulated. The operator or any part of the machine will not have to come in direct contact with a power line to be in extreme danger. High voltage electric current can jump up to 45 feet to seek a ground.
There are other hazards that can be found in the safety section of your MEWP operator’s manual including component damage hazards, explosion and fire hazards, damaged machine hazards, crushing hazards and bodily injury hazards so take the time to read, understand, and remember all hazards when moving and setting up your aerial work platform.
This article is designed to be an overview to help operators recognize and avoid some of the hazards associated with aerial lifts and is not intended to take the place of comprehensive operator training and hands-on familiarization of the specific machine to be operated.