Aerial lifts are one of the most frequently used pieces of equipment on most job sites. Pipe fitters use aerial lifts. Carpenters use aerial lifts. Laborers and Ironworkers use aerial lifts. Just about every trade, at one time or another, uses aerial lifts to safely perform their work. The frequency of their use means that we have become familiar with how to safely use them. However, the frequency of their use can also make us over familiar. An author by the name of Rick Warren famously wrote this: “Familiarity breeds Complacency”. This can be true in our lives in many ways and can also be true with our work. Let’s take a fresh look at some potential hazards and safe work practices associated with this piece of equipment that we use all of the time.
Prior to operation, check for the following hazards:
- Ground Conditions
- Struck-By/ Caught In Between
- Overhead Obstructions
- High Winds
Safe Work Practices
- Ensure that the ground is level and is able to support the aerial lift.
- Any time workers enter an aerial lift they are required to wear a harness and use a lanyard to tie-off.
- Check your surrounding area and ensure that you maintain a minimum clearance of at least 10 feet from any overhead power lines. Always treat power lines, wires and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or appear to be insulated.
- Never position your body between upper rails and overhead obstructions.
- Always operate at or below the machines wind speed operating tolerance.
- Make sure that workers who operate aerial lifts are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment.
- Always stand firmly on the basket floor. Never sit or climb on the rails of the basket.