Updated safety and training standards for operating aerial lifts in the workplace are now in place.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) made changes to the guidelines for that type of equipment to create more of a global standard of operation.
As a result, lifts are now required to have separate load-limit and slope-level sensors. The first is designed to prevent the machine from operating when a load exceeds the manufacturer’s safety limit. The other aims to prevent the equipment from being operated at too steep of a slope and increasing the risk of it tipping over.
Other changes require lifts used outdoors to include wind-speed sensors to alert workers to reduce workloads in high winds. Lifts used on rough terrain should have solid or foam-filled tires to increase the stability of the equipment.
Platform railings on all aerial lifts now must be a minimum of 43.5 inches high, an increase from 39 inches under the old operating standard. Gates that include toe guards now must be used to close off the entrance to the work platform instead of a chain.
The ANSI requires businesses that use aerial lifts to have a written safe-use plan that includes:
- A detailed site risk assessment.
- Rescue plans in the event of an accident.
- Ways to prevent unauthorized aerial lift use.
- Steps to protect workers not using the equipment and the area around where the lift is being operated.
The new standards apply to those who own, manufacture, sell or operate aerial lifts. Certain managers and supervisors also are expected to be knowledgeable about the updated standards.
ANSI says all personnel who supervise aerial platform workers must be trained in selecting the appropriate equipment for the job being performed; knowing safe operation rules and standards; understanding potential hazards and how to protect against them; and ensuring the operating manual is stored in a protected place on the equipment.
Lift operators should also provide basic training for others who are working on the platform with them.
ANSI encourages businesses to have a written site-specific rescue plan that details how to safely get workers down should the equipment malfunction in the air. Sites also should have at least one person who can operate the equipment from the ground in case those working on the platform are unable to lower the lift themselves.
Additionally, maintenance workers need to be trained on all new features for aerial lifts, including the functions of the additional sensors.
ANSI updated the aerial lift safety standards in 2018 and gave operators until December 2019 to comply.
Taking these extra steps will help your organization avoid safety violations and fines through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
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