Aerial lifts are vehicle-mounted, boom-supported aerial platforms, such as cherry pickers or bucket trucks, used to access utility lines and other above-ground jobsites. The major causes of fatalities are falls, electrocutions, collapses, or tip-overs. Employers must take measures to ensure the safe use of aerial lifts.
Always follow maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer. Before each use, check that both the vehicle and lift components work properly. Check fluid levels, wheels, tires, battery, horn, gauges, backup alarms, steering, brakes, etc.
Check Work Area
Assess the best way to reach the work area. Identify the hazards present and take the corrective actions to eliminate hazards. If possible, do not place lifts directly underneath a hazard. Ensure proper clearance from sprinkler heads and other overhead hazards such as electrical wiring. Avoid contact with utility or power lines. Keep a 10-foot clearance distance from all power lines to avoid potential for an arc.
When in the lift, secure all gates and openings. Never overreach outside the lift. Stand firmly on the floor of the bucket when working. Do not stand on the railings to perform work. When in a bucket truck or boom lift, use a body harness with a lanyard attached to the boom or the bucket. Harness should fit properly and not worn loosely on the body. The D-ring should be worn between the shoulder blades. Do not tie off on the guardrail. Tie off only to the point as designated by the manufacturer inside the lift. Harnesses are to prevent one from stepping outside of the bucket, not as fall protection.
Before each use of the lift, position it on a stable level surface. If the outriggers are to be used, set the brakes to the vehicle and park it on a level surface.
Use the equipment in compliance with the recommendations of the manufacturer. Never exceed the weight capacity. Calculate load by factoring in the weight of the workers, tools, and materials. An aerial lift is not to be used as a crane or a forklift. Do not load objects that are larger than the lift. When one needs to mobilize the lift, if possible, lower the platform and then move the lift to the desired work area. If moving with the platform in the air, mobilize the lift at a slow and safe speed. Check for people and other tools or materials that may impede the path of travel.
Make sure weather conditions are suitable. Do not operate in high winds. Doing so will increase the likelihood of the lift tipping over.
Account for tools at all times. If possible, tether tools to help reduce the risk of them falling on workers below the lift. If tools are not in use, secure them.
Use signage to guide traffic away from the location of the lift. Avoid walking under a lift. Ensure back-up alarms are functional to alert others of your movement.
Review the following standards and apply as corresponds to your specific industry.
29 CFR 1910.67, 29 CFR 1910.269, 29 CFR 1926.21, 29 CFR 1926.453, 29 CFR 1926.502
NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.