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March 28, 2011
Aerial Lift Safety: Safe Work Practices

Aerial lift safety can be accomplished through safe work practices. In addition to OSHA rules and guidelines, many companies have their own policies regarding safe work practices.

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Owners and supervisors should ensure that all aerial lift employees are familiar with the current safe work practices as instituted by OSHA as well as the company.

Some examples of topics that should be taught to aerial lift employees, especially those new to lifts, include the following:

  • Keep at least 10 feet away from power lines
  • Report defects or malfunctions immediately
  • Never disable a safety device or interlock
  • Prevent ropes, cords, and hoses from entangling with lift
  • Before lowering the lift make sure the area underneath is clear
  • Never engage in stunt driving or horseplay

Here are some safe work practices that all aerial lift operators and other employees working with them should observe.

Always check for overhead power lines and high-voltage conductors before elevating the lift. If power lines are too close to where the boom will be working, relocate the vehicle. When in doubt, check with your worksite supervisor.

It is important that you keep the lift and boom at least 10 feet away from power lines at all times, unless you are specifically working on the lines and are trained and equipped to do so.

Report any defects or equipment malfunctions immediately, and do not use the equipment until necessary repairs have been made by qualified maintenance personnel. When in doubt about a lift component consult with your supervisor.

Never alter or disable a safety device or interlock device. And be sure to check safety and interlock devices daily to ensure they are functioning properly.

Prevent ropes, electric cords, and hoses from entangling with the lift when the platform is elevated, lowered, or moved.

Before lowering the lift, make sure the area under the lift is clear of tools, debris, or personnel working on the ground.

And, of course, it should go without saying that you should never engage in any stunt driving or horseplay when working in or around aerial lifts. Such behavior is always unsafe and prohibited.

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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