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Posted on: October 1, 2012 By: Megan Knoll, Dir of Marketing

Aerial Lifts – Part 1

Approximately 26 construction workers die annually from the improper use of aerial lifts, and many more are injured.  In the past year, there have been two fatalities from aerial lifts in our region, one of which was a Local 18 Insulator.  The main causes of injuries from aerial lifts are electrocutions, falls, tip-overs, caught between and struck by.  It is imperative that employees abide by the following safety rules when using aerial lifts to prevent being injured and ensure they are able to return home at the end of each day safe and sound.

  • These machines are not electrically insulated and will not provide protection from contact with or proximity to electrical current.  Maintain a clearance of at least 10 ft. between any part of the machine and its occupants, their tools, and their equipment from any electrical line or apparatus carrying up to 50,000 volts.  One foot additional clearance is required for every additional 30,000 volts or less.  Allow for machine movement and electrical line swaying or sagging.
  • Occupants must wear a full body harness with a lanyard attached to an authorized anchor point.  Guardrails are not approved anchor points.  Before operating the machine, make sure all gates and chains are closed and fastened in their proper position.
  • Maintain firm footing on the platform at all times.  Do not use ladder, boxes, steps, planks, guardrails or similar items to provide additional reach.
  • Do not raise the platform or drive the machine with the boom extended or raised unless on a firm, level and smooth surface.  Never exceed the allowable side slope or grade while driving.  Do not use on moving surface or vehicle.
  • Do not exceed the maximum platform capacity.  Distribute loads evenly on platform floor.  See model operation manual for actual capacity rating.  Do not push or pull any object with the boom.  Never attempt to use the machine as a crane or attach overhanging loads.  Do not tie off machines to any adjacent structure.
  • Inspect work area for clearances overhead, on sides and bottom of platform and lift base when lifting or lowering platform and driving.  During operation, keep all body parts inside platform guardrails.
  • Keep non-operating personnel at least 6 ft. away from the machine during all driving and swing operations.
  • When driving, always position boom over rear axle in line with the direction of travel.  Remember, if boom is over the front axle, steer and drive functions will be reversed.
  • Use extreme caution when entering and exiting the lift.  Face the machine and use three points of contact.  Always exit through the designated anchor point.  Do not climb over guardrails.
  • Keep the base of the lift at least 2 ft. from holes, bumps, drop offs, obstructions, debris and other potential hazards on the floor or surface.
  • Do not operate the machine in strong or gusty winds, JLG states not to operate in wind above 28 MPH.
  • Do not increase the surface area of the platform or the load.  Increase of the area exposed to the wind will decrease stability.
  • Only two employees are allowed in a lift at one time.  Only one person may operate the machine at a time.
  • Use the boom functions, not the drive function, to position the platform close to obstacles.
  • Be aware of stopping distances while driving or maneuvering.  Do not operate quickly in restricted or tight areas or when operating in reverse.  Use extreme caution at all times to prevent obstacles from striking or interfering with operating controls and persons in the platform.
  • Use a spotter when driving in areas where vision is obstructed.  Always warn personnel not to work, stand or walk under a raised boom or platform.  Barricades may be required to achieve this.
  • Limit travel speed according to conditions of ground surface, congestion, visibility, slope, location of personnel, and other factors which may cause collision or injury to personnel.
  • Do not alter or disable machine components that in any way affect safety or stability.
  • Always inspect and document a lift inspection before work begins.  If lift is not working properly, do not use, red tag and inform your supervisor.

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