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Aerial Lift Safety

Aerial lifts are present throughout the University and are used and operated by a number of University personnel.  These lifts are used in construction, inspection, athletic events and repair services to lift employees to an elevated work platform.  This guidance document outlines training, inspection, maintenance and general requirements necessary for the safe use of lifts.  The Department and/or Supervisor/Manager are responsible for ensuring that all elements of this guide are followed.

Aerial lifts are considered to include but not limited to any of the following:

  • Vehicle mounted aerial devices to elevate personnel to work areas not accessible from the ground,
  • Extendible boom platforms
  • Aerial Ladders
  • Scissor/Genie Lifts
  • Articulation booms
  • Vertical Towers
  • Any combination of devices listed above

Training

General-Classroom

All personnel who operate and use aerial lifts must attend an appropriate safety training program prior to operating a lift or being a passenger.   The Supervisor or Manager of the Department using the lift is responsible for ensuring that anyone who uses an aerial lift receives the appropriate training.  Training must be conducted by a certified trainer. The training must include the following at a minimum:

  • Purpose and use of manuals and where they must be located
  • Pre-start inspection process
  • Identification of malfunctions and problems
  • Factors affecting stability
  • Purpose of placards and decals
  • Workplace inspections
  • Safety rules and regulations
  • Use, care and inspection of any required PPE and Personal fall arrest system
  • Emergency action plan procedures
  • Authorization to operate
  • Emergency action plan procedures
  • Operators warnings and instructions

Specific Lift Familiarization Training-Operational

All operators of lifts must receive specific lift familiarization and operational training specific to the make and model that they will be operating.  The Supervisor or Manager of the Department using the lift is responsible for ensuring that anyone who uses an aerial lift receives the appropriate training.  Training must be conducted by a certified trainer. The training must include a review of the following at a minimum:

  • Location of weather resistant compartment where manual is stored
  • All safety placards and warnings
  • All switches, drive mechanisms, adjustments and controls (both lower and upper controls)
  • The functional operation of the lift
  • The use of outriggers and stabilizing equipment
  • All gauges, horns and lights
  • Proper fueling and/or battery charging procedures
  • Inspections and the inspection process

Frequency of Training

All employees must receive an annual refresher training and performance evaluation. The annual refresher training must include the following at a minimum:

  • Review of this Guide
  • Review of site specific safety procedures and equipment
  • Operator evaluation
  • Updated information on new equipment

Refresher training is also required:

  • If an operator has been observed to operate a lift in an unsafe manner
  • If an operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident
  • Is an operator has received an evaluation that reveals the operator is not operating the lift safely
  • If a new lift has been introduced or the Operator has been assigned to a different type of lift
  • If conditions in the workplace change in a manner that could affect the safe operation of the lift.

Training Records

All training records must be maintained by the department and be readily available for review upon request.  All training records must include the minimum:

  • Subject of Training
  • Date of Training
  • Name of individual trained
  • Name of Company and Trainer

Inspections

Inspections are a critical step in the prevention of aerial lift incidents or injuries.  All identified issues observed during any inspection must be immediately corrected.  In addition, the lift must be immediately removed from service until the necessary corrective actions have been conducted.  The Supervisor or Manager of the Department using the lift is responsible for ensuring that all required inspections are conducted and properly documented.

Pre-Start Inspection

A pre-start inspection (visual and functional test) must be conducted prior to using the lift each day or at the beginning of each shift. A copy of the most recent pre-start inspection must be stored on the lift.  The pre-start inspection must include the following at a minimum:

  • Operating and emergency controls
  • Safety Devices
  • Personal Protective Devices
  • Air, hydraulic and fuels system leaks
  • Cables and wiring harness
  • Loose or missing parts
  • Tires and wheels
  • Placards, warnings, control markings and operating manual(s)
  • Outriggers, stabilizers and other structures
  • Guardrail system
  • Other items specified by the manufacturer

Workplace Inspection

Workplace inspections must be conducted prior to use. The operator must visually check the workplace area where the lift is to be used to identify potential hazards. These hazards include but are not limited to:

  • Drop-off or holes
  • Slopes
  • Bumps or floor obstructions
  • Debris
  • Overhead obstructions and energized power lines
  • Hazardous locations and atmospheres
  • Inadequate surface and support to withstand all load forces imposed by the aerial lift platforms.
  • Wind and Weather Conditions

NOTE: Operation of aerial lifts outdoors is prohibited when wind speeds or gust reach 28 mph, when there is a wind or gust warnings in effect of 28 mph or more, when lightening is visible, or when thunder storm warnings are in effect. In addition,  all weather restrictions specified  in the lift manual or stated on the lift must be followed.

  • Presence of pedestrians or any other unauthorized people.
  • Other possible unsafe conditions

Frequent Inspections

A frequent inspection shall be performed on all lifts when the device if first acquired, on a quarterly basis (or in service use for 150 hours) or more often if receomended by the manufacturer of the lift.  A frequent inspection should also be completed if the lift has been out of service for more than 3 months. The inspection shall be performed by a qualified mechanic who is authorized to perform maintenance duties on the lift.  The inspection must include all items specified by the manufacturer.

Annual Inspections

Annual inspection must be performed on each lift every twelve months. The inspection shall be performed by a qualified mechanic who is authorized to perform maintenance duties on the lift.  The inspection must include all items specified by the manufacturer. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

All PPE including the personal fall arrest system must be inspected prior to each use for mildew, wear, damage and other deterioration. Defective PPE and components must be removed from service.  All damaged/defective PPE must be reported to the operator’s supervisor.

Inspection Records

All inspection records must be maintained by the department and be readily available for review upon request.

Maintenance

All maintenance that is performed on lifts shall be performed by trained and experienced professionals. The Supervisor or Manager of the Department using the lift is responsible for ensuring that all required inspections are conducted and properly documented.

General

  • Any lift not in safe operating condition must be removed from service.
  • Repairs to the fuel and ignition systems of the lifts that involve fire hazards, must be conducted only in locations designated for such repairs.
  • The battery must be disconnected for any repair involving the electrical system.
  • All parts used in the repair and maintenance of the lift must be recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Fuel tanks must not be filled while the engine is running
  • Spillage of oil or fuel must be carefully cleaned up and the fuel tank replaced before restarting the engine.
  • Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be used when conducting any required maintenance.
  • The storage of propane cylinder must be in a location approved by the University Fire Marshal

Battery Changing & Charging

  • Must be conducted in an intrinsically safe environment with adequate ventilation.
  • Facilities must be provided for
    • Flushing and neutralizing spilled electrolyte
    • Fire Protection ( example-10-lbs ABC fire extinguisher within 20 feet)
    • Protection of Charging apparatus
    • Emergency Eyewash must be accessible in any area where electrolyte is added to the batteries
  • Precautions must be taken to prevent open flames, sparks, or electric arcs in battery charging areas
  • Proper PPE (protective clothing including face shields, long sleeves, boots, aprons and gloves)  must be provided and worn

General

Safe Work Practices

  • Ensure that personnel who operate or utilize lifts are authorized and trained in the safe use and operation of the lift.
  • All personnel must read and understand this guide as well as any manufactures manual.
  • Review previous inspections, especially the previous pre-start inspections, for any previously identified issues, comments or notes prior to operating the lift.
  • All required inspections must be conducted and documented
  • Never override hydraulic, mechanical or electrical safety devices.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & Fall Protection

All users of lifts are required to wear a personal fall arrest system consisting of a full body harness and a lanyard properly attached to the lift basket.  

All personnel must remain tied-off until work is finished and the basket has been safely lowered to the ground. All personnel working from an aerial lift may only tie off to the basket or boom of the lift.  Tying off to an adjacent pole, structure or other equipment is strictly prohibited.

It is critical that the apropriate fall protection equipment is selected and that personnel understand how to utilize the equipment. The manufacturer’s instructions included with the fall arrest stytems, and positioning devices must be read prior to each use to ensure that it is appropriate for the particular situation or environment.

Personal fall arrest systems must:

  • Limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pound when used with a body harness
  • Bring an employee to a complete stop and limit maximum deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet.
  • Have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of six feet, or free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less.

Personal fall arrest system must be rigged such that an employee cannot free fall more than six feet or contact a lower level.

Personnel fall arrest systems or components subjected to impact loading must be immediately removed from service and must not be sued again for employee protection unless inspected and determined by a competent person to be undamaged and suitable for reuse.

A PPE hazard assessment must be conducted prior to conducting any work to determine if and what type of additional PPE is required.  The Supervisor or Manager of the Department using the lift is responsible for ensuring that any required PPE is acquired, personnel are trained and that the PPE is properly worn. 

Emergencies

Temple University Police must be contacted at 1-1234 in the event there are any emergencies.

Care and Use

All lifts must be operated, used and maintained in accordance with OSHA regulations, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards and manufactures recommendations.

Weather & Wind Conditions

Wind and weather conditions can have an adverse impact on the safe use of aerial lifts when used outdoors.  Wind and weather conditions must be evaluated each day prior to the use of the lift.  In addition, the continual evaluation of the weather and wind must be conducted throughout the entire use of the lift. 

Operation of aerial lifts outdoors is prohibited when wind speeds reach 28 mph, when there is a wind warning in effect of 28 mph or more, when lightening is visible, or when thunder storm warnings are in effect.

Transportation on Campus/Public Roads

Transporting and/or driving lifts on campus or public roads fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation (DOT). Consult with the DOT for specific requirements and follow all manufactures recommendations when transporting and/or driving lifts on campus or public roads.  

Working Surfaces

All personnel must always stand firmly on the floor of the basket and must not sit or climb on the edge of the basket. Personnel must never attempt to climb outside of the basket or over extend the upper body beyond the railing of the basket.

Personnel may only perform work in areas which can be reached from inside the basket of the lifting device.  Lifts may not be used in combination with other devices such as ladders, planks or scaffolding.

Load Limits

Load limits for the boom and basket must not be exceeded. Load limits for the boom and basket must be posted in a visible location on the lift. Boom and basket load limits must be specified by the manufacturer or by any other equivalent entity, such as a nationally recognized laboratory.

Vehicle Positioning

Prior to executing a lift, the vehicle in which the lift is mounted needs to be positioned in such a way as to allow the boom and basket a full range of motion inside the work area. With some types of lifts, once the vehicle is in the desired position, special stabilizing tools such as “outriggers” and “wheel Chocks” need to be installed in order to safely operate the lift.  Other type of lifts allow vehicle movement while the boom is extended and do not require stabilizing equipment. Unless the vehicle is designed to do so an aerial lift must never be moved when the boom is elevated.

Markings & Decals

In addition to any other markings or decals that are placed on the lift by the manufacturer, the following information must be displayed on all lift s in a clearly visible, accessible area and in a durable manner:

  • Make, Model, serial number and manufactures name and address
  • The rated workload, including rated number of occupants
  • Maximum platform height

Platforms

Platforms must have the following minimum:

  • Platform width must be not less than 18 inches and must have slip resistant surface
  • The platform must have a guardrail system around its periphery. It should be removable or can be lowered. The means used to secure it in the normal operating position must be readily accessible for inspection and maintenance.
  • The guardrail system must include a top rail that is between 39 and 45 inches high, a mid rail that is approximately half-way from the platform to the top rail and a toe board that is at least 4 inches high.

Outriggers

Outriggers are one type of stabilizing tool. If outriggers are used, they should be positioned on “cribbing “pad or a solid surface.

Setting up and positioning the outriggers is extremely important. The aerial lift could tip over if not done properly.

  • If possible, position outriggers on solid surfaces such as concrete or asphalt.
  • Position outriggers on level ground
  • If positioned on soil, check the soil density to ensure that the surface is stable and not recently backfilled.
  • Always use cribbing when positioning outriggers on soil.
  • Always bring the outrigger straight down and never at an angle.
  • Never stand behind an outrigger or between an outrigger and another object when it is being retracted because the center of gravity may have shifted during lifting activities and the sudden release of the outrigger could cause the vehicle to lunge.

Brakes

Brakes provide protection against accidental movement. Prior to operating the lift, the operator must ensure that the brakes are set.

Wheel Chocks

Wheel chocks provide additional protection against accidental movement. Chocks prevent accidental movement or slippage of vehicles by bracing the wheels on either side. This is important during boom and basket movement when shifting weight can affect wheel placement. Chocks must be utilized before operating a lift.

Power Lines

Only lift with insulated buckets and approved for use near power lines can be used for work on or near power lines. The buckets insulation must be periodically inspected for decay and damage.  Lifts that are not insulated or approved for work near power lines must maintain at least 10 feet from the boom and energized or suspected energized electrical lines.  Always treat power lines, wires and other conductors as being energized. Personnel that are not trained electrical workers must remain at least 10 feet from power lines.

Dangerous Obstacles

Personnel must never position themselves between overhead hazards; such as joists and beams, or the rails of the basket.  Accidental movement of the lift could result in a crushing hazard.

Personnel must also be aware of other obstacles. Personnel must keep a minimum distance of 10 feet from all dangerous obstacles.  These include but are not limited to:

  • Other vehicles
  • Tools & Equipment
  • Other Lifts
  • Trenches and pits
  • Mechanical devices
  • Pot Holes
  • Cranes
  • Power lines

Tip-Overs

Tip-overs can occur when lifts are operated on soft or uneven ground, if the load limit is exceeded or the lift is truck by another vehicle.

  • Do not exceed the manufactures rated load capacity limits
  • Avoid unnecessary travel with lift in the elevated position.
  • Establish a work area perimeter
  • Do not drive near leading edges or holes
  • Do not raise the platform on a slope or drive onto a slop when elevated.
  • Do not drive on uneven or soft surfaces when elevated
  • Conduct workplace inspections
  • Do not use the platform in windy conditions

NOTE: Operation of aerial lifts outdoors is prohibited when wind speeds reach 28 mph, when there is a wind warning in effect of 28 mph or more, when lightening is visible, or when thunder storm warnings are in effect.

  • Avoid excessive horizontal forces when working in an elevated lift

Pedestrian Traffic

Personnel must be constantly aware of their surroundings. All lift operators are responsible for the safety of the people in the vicinity of the lifting equipment.  In the event that aerial lift work needs to be conducted in the vicinity of people, operators must take special precautions to ensure that the work area is isolated from pedestrian traffic.

Signs, Caution Tape and Barriers

The lift boom and basket must never be positioned above pedestrians and other workers. Is a lift is going to be sued in an area near pedestrian traffic; operators are required to isolate the work area by establishing a perimeter and safely diverting the pedestrian traffic.  Danger signs, caution tape and barriers must be used to create the perimeter of the work area.  The operator of the lift must ensure that the lift, boom and basket remain within the perimeter at all times.

When pedestrian traffic is diverted, signs must be posted to direct the people in the appropraite direction.  Campus police must be consulted prior diverting any pedestrians onto a street or location where vehicles are located. Additional signs must be posted at all entrances and around the perimeter of the work area to warn pedestrians that dangerous work is being conducted.

Related Resources/Links

UPRIGHT-A resource for aerial lift safety

Aerial Lifts-Protect Yourself-OSHA Quick Card

ANSI/SIA A92.6-2006-Self Propelled Elevating Work Platforms

OSHA-29 CFR 1926.453-Aerial Lifts