Loss Control Insights for Contractors

5 Ways to Make Aerial Lifts Safer

worker with lift in background

Aerial lifts have replaced ladders and scaffolding on many job sites due to their mobility and flexibility, however those benefits don't come risk-free. While falling from an elevated basket or boom is a relatively obvious concern, lesser known hazards (electric shocks, tip-overs and contact with overhead objects) can also put employees in danger. Here are five ways you can help make aerial lift use safer for your workers.

Train Employees
Only trained employees should operate aerial lifts. This should include hands-on training with information specific to the lifts being used and instructions on maximum load capacity.

Inspect the Work Area
Take a few minutes to look for hazards before you start working with the lift. Check for uneven areas or holes, overhead obstructions and close proximity to other workers. Make sure the floor or surface will be able to adequately support the weight of the load.

Inspect the Equipment
Every day you should test the lift controls and inspect the equipment, looking for leaks, cracked welds, tire damage or anything else that needs to be fixed before use.

Prevent Falls and Tip-Overs
Workers should use a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or basket to avoid being ejected (this isn't necessary for scissor lifts unless feet leave the platform). This fall arrest equipment should also be used when employees exit the basket onto another work surface. Lower the platform before moving the equipment unless the lift was designed to be moved in an elevated state. When the lift is on an incline, set the brakes and use wheel chocks to prevent movement and always use any outriggers that are provided.

Avoid Overhead Contact
Non-electrical workers should stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines. When raising or moving the platform, workers should not place any body parts between overhead hazards (such as joists and beams) and the rails of the basket.

Find More Online
OSHA Fact Sheet – Using Aerial Lifts
American Work Platform Training