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March 28, 2011
Aerial Lift Safety: Hazards

Whenever you are working with an aerial lift, safety must be your first concern. Aerial lifts can and do pose safety risks to those who operate them as well as to those on the ground. Some of the more common hazards include:,/p>

  • Falling out of the lift
  • Tipping vehicle over
  • Power lines
  • Falling objects

One of the primary hazards of working in aerial lifts is falling out of the lift. If you work in a lift, you must be sure fall protection devices such as personal fall arrest systems are used and guardrails are maintained in good working order.

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Another serious hazard is tipping over the vehicle carrying the lift. Tip-over can occur if the lift is overloaded or if the vehicle is not properly stabilized before use. You need to know about load limits and how to maintain stability of the vehicle to prevent a tip-over.

Overhead power lines are another very dangerous hazard for workers in aerial lifts. Contact with power lines could result in electrocution. Unless you are trained to work on high-voltage electrical equipment, always stay well clear of power lines.

And then there is the hazard of falling objects for those working on the ground near aerial lifts. Depending on the work being performed by the employee in the lift, tools, materials, tree branches, or other heavy objects could fall on workers on the ground and cause injuries—particularly head injuries, which is why workers on the ground should always wear head protection and stay clear of being directly below the lift whenever possible.

Aerial lift operators should be well trained in recognizing potential hazards as well as knowing how to work around these hazards safely. Failure to do so can result in serious, possibly fatal, accidents.

The above information comes from BLR’s presentation “Aerial Lift Safety.” For more information on all the training courses BLR has to offer, go to our Aerial Lift Safety page.

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