3 Tips for Operating Aerial Lifts Safely

Aerial lifts are used in a variety of industries, from construction to retail.  Correct use of aerial lifts makes work tasks much easier and safer than using ladders.  Using aerial lifts incorrectly leads to serious injury or death.  In this blog, I give three tips on operating aerial lifts safely.

Tip #1: Training

Only those who have been trained in the use of aerial lifts should operate them.  There is such a variety of different lifts available, so training should be specific to the type being used.  Include explanations of the hazards involved, such as electrical and fall hazards.  In addition, include procedures for handling hazards, instructions for correct operation, and when and how to perform inspections.  Proper training can prevent serious injuries.

Tip #2: Testing and Inspection

Always conduct a pre-start inspection before operating an aerial lift.  This will ensure that all systems are operating as they should be.  Include general vehicle components and controls along with any manufacturer-specific recommendations.  Test and inspect safety devices such as guardrail systems, placards or warning signs, and backup alarms.  In addition, inspect the work zone.  Ensure there are no hazards such as slopes or drop-offs, debris obstructions, other people in the work area, and overhead hazards.

Tip #3: General Use

Some general use safety tips include never operating a lift when the boom is elevated and never exceeding the load limits set by the manufacturer.  Always watch for overhead hazards such as power lines to ensure the proper clearance distance is followed.  Fall protection should be worn by all operators and attached to the boom or basket, never to adjacent structures.  It is also a good idea to use the assistance of a spotter when moving backward and the view is obstructed.

Proper use, training, testing, and inspection will help prevent injury to the operator and any others working around the aerial lift.  Everyone wants to go home safely at the end of the day.

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Amber Hebert

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