Staying Safe In The Air | Safety Tips For Aerial Lift Equipment
Safety first is the mantra for every construction worksite, but if your crews are using aerial lift equipment, they have even more to think about. The following safety tips address using equipment correctly on the ground and in the air as well as working safely from an elevated boom or scissor-lift platform.
Before starting to work
- Always start with a jobsite walk-around. You’re looking for potential problems or risks on the ground such as uneven terrain with drop-offs or holes, loose soils or slippery surfaces, etc. Don’t forget to look up, where you’ll be working, to note hazards or obstacles. Be especially careful to note the location of any power lines.
- Have you read the worksite safety rules? Do you know if there are local regulations that govern use of aerial lift equipment? Be sure you understand what’s expected before you proceed.
- Have a rescue plan in mind, and discuss it with your ground-level workmates ahead of time. Once you’re in the air, you’ll need their help to get down if for some reason you cannot lower the lift.
- Then do a walk-around inspection of the lift, just as you would with any other piece of construction equipment. Look for undue wear, leaks, etc. that could compromise safe operation. Test the lift to be sure it functions correctly.
- Clear the platform of debris or items you will not need. It’s cramped enough without extra hazards underfoot. Be sure bulky items are secured with approved attachments.
- Before elevating the boom or platform, be certain you have closed the entry gate.
- Always wear full fall protection on the platform. Your gear should fit properly and be appropriately snug. If you’re operating a boom, you need a full body harness with self-retracting lifeline or lanyard.
- Remember the guardrails are there to protect you, not to provide that extra little bit of reach. Never sit, stand or climb on them.
- When you’re elevated, be sure you are securely tied-off if you need to exit the boom or platform. This extra-dangerous type of work should never be assigned to someone who hasn’t been specifically trained for it.
Aerial lift safety starts with proper training.
Workers should have general knowledge about operating aerial equipment in a safe manner, and they should also receive hands-on training using the specific equipment they will operate on the job. Your dealership can be a great partner in this, in conjunction with your OEM(s). Most manufacturers offer hands-on classes for both operators and management staff.
One OEM has taken hands-on learning to an even higher level (so to speak), building a training facility that includes a multi-acre outdoor proving ground and indoor space for classroom learning and demos. Attendees can learn to operate telehandlers, scissor lifts and boom lifts under real-life working conditions but in a safe environment. They can practice placing and picking telehandler loads, working on different types of terrain and slopes and working around other types of worksite challenges such as ground or overhead obstacles.
The new construction season will be heating up soon. But thanks to winter storms, aerial lift operations continue all year. So keep these aerial lift safety tips handy. You can offer them as a checklist for your equipment rental customers, or pass them along as a timely reminder to everyone on your customer list.