Job sites are not always at ground level. Sometimes workers need to use aerial platforms. All work has hazards and risks involved in it, but when you work at an elevated height, extra training and attention to safety procedures is a necessity.
Aerial lifts are vehicle-mounted, boom-supported aerial platforms, such as cherry pickers or bucket trucks, used to access utility lines and other aboveground job sites.
The most important tip to remember before operating any aerial lift platform is always read and follow the manufacturer’s safety and operation manual! This information must be kept on the rig and can usually be found somewhere on the lift.
Hazards associated with aerial lifts are:
- Tip over;
- Falls from elevated lift platforms;
- Being struck by falling objects;
- Contact with electrical power lines (electrocutions);
- Ejections from lift platforms; and
- Boom failures.
Before Operating an Aerial Lift:
- Check operating and emergency controls.
- Check safety devices such as outriggers, guardrails, and personal fall protection equipment. • Look for leaks of air, hydraulic fluid, and fuel.
- Look for a level surface that won’t shift.
- Never exceed the manufacturer’s slope limits.
- Look for hazards such as holes, bumps, debris, and overhead power lines. • Set outriggers, brakes, and wheel chocks, even if on a level surface.
- If working near traffic, set up work zone warnings using cones and signs
Safe Work Practices:
- Make sure that workers who operate aerial lifts are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment.
- Maintain and operate elevating work platforms according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Never override hydraulic, mechanical, or electrical safety devices.
- Never move the equipment with workers in an elevated platform unless permitted by the manufacturer.
- Maintain a minimum clearance of at least 10 feet away from the nearest energized overhead lines.
- Always treat power lines, wires, and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or appear to be insulated.
- Use a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or basket to prevent the worker(s) from being ejected or pulled from the basket.
- Set the brakes and use wheel chocks when on an incline.
- Use outriggers, if provided.
- Do not exceed the load limits of the equipment. Allow for the combined weight of the worker, tools, and materials.
- Ensure railing system is in place at all times. Always close entrance chains or doors. • Stand only on the platform surface.
- Never climb or step on the railing system.
- Do not attach hanging loads to any part of the machine.
- If the tilt alarm sounds, use extreme caution to retract the boom and lower the platform.
- When parking, retract and lower the boom to the stowed position when possible.
- Rotate the turntable so that the boom is between the non-steering wheels. o Ensure a safe parking location.
- Remove key.
- If at any point the operator does not feel safe, lower the lift and speak with your supervisor.
Knowing the functions and operating procedures of an aerial lift reduces the chances of accidents.
The most important tip to remember before operating any aerial lift platform is always read and follow the manufacturer’s safety and operation manual!
HARNESSES AND LANYARDS ARE MORE COMFORTABLE THAN CASTS!!
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