Everything You Need To Know About Aerial Lift Safety Training
The demand for access to hard-to-reach areas and technological developments in the construction industry is anticipated to drive the growth of the global aerial lift market in the upcoming years. The market is anticipated to grow at an annual growth rate of 5.17% from 2023 to 2033, according to a recent study by Market Research Future.
With advancements in aerial lifts that will help to accelerate at-height operations, more and more of these machines will be adopted into the construction industry. With this comes the ever-increasing need for safety training and knowledge in the workplace.
What Are Aerial Lifts?
Aerial lifts, also known as aerial work platforms, are a group of large machinery used to lift humans. According to OSHA, aerial lifts can include extendable boom platforms, aerial staircases, articulating boom platforms, and combinations of these tools.
Choosing the Right Aerial Lift
There are many types of aerial lifts, and each comes with its own unique features and applications. To choose the right type of aerial lift for your job, there are many factors to consider.
It is important to consider how many individuals will need to be on the lift at one time. The lift also needs to be able to hold any equipment or other tools that these individuals will be using. Always be aware of the lift’s weight limits when selecting one for your operations.
You should also always consider how high you will need to go and in what direction. All aerial lifts have different reach limits when it comes to how high you need to go. And some aerial lifts only travel in a vertical direction, whereas others are made with “knuckles” which allow operators to work around or through obstacles.
There are certain lifts that can accommodate more employees than others. Wider platforms typically carry less weight because they are heavier, and the shape of a lift’s platform can influence its center of gravity.
You should always take into consideration when and where your operations will take place. A zero-emissions lift will be required for indoor operations. In smaller spaces, you will want to select and use a compact lift. When working outdoors, uneven external ground will necessitate the use of an all-terrain lift.
What Kind of Safety Training Will I Need?
Once you have selected the aerial lift that will assist you best in your task or operations, you will need to receive and complete a safety training that is specific to the aerial lift you chose. For example, if you select a boom lift, you will want to take a boom lift safety training.
OSHA stipulates employees receive training on safe working practices when they are hired, given new jobs or responsibilities, a new process or material is introduced into the workplace that may be hazardous, and when they are in charge of carrying out hazardous tasks. Employees might also need to complete annual trainings depending on the requirements of the machine or processes they will use.
Aerial Lift Training Outline
OSHA does not have specific standards regarding specific aerial lifts, so all of the aerial lift and training requirement fall under a general set of standards. Because of this, standard aligned aerial lift safety training will cover all the required safety topics. Here is a standard outline of what an OSHA Aligned aerial lift safety training will look like.
Anatomy, Components, and Inspections
This section explains some general things to check during your pre-shift inspection. Refer to your operator’s manual for more specific checklists. Inspections can be broken down into two categories: key-on and key-off.
During key-on checks, you are performing an operational inspection to check whether any components function improperly. That means you should check that the steering, brakes, warning devices, and other controls work correctly.
During key-off checks, you are doing a visual inspection of the machine for damage & wear. This will generally include things like structural defects, cracked welds, loose fasteners, loose wire connections, and damaged or missing warning labels.
Though aerial lifts are very heavy and seem sturdy on the job, there are several factors that can destabilize the machine and cause it to tip over or roll in unintended directions. Many mobile equipment accidents are attributed to exceeding the machine’s limitations.
You can use all sorts of equations to determine balance, force, leverage, and so on. But the simple truth is that if there’s too much weight on one side of the machine, it will tip over.
You should familiarize yourself with the limitations of your machine, including any load capacities and clearances. Learn the maximum grade your machine can traverse, and plan jobs accordingly.
Dynamic conditions are some stability factors outside of your control. You need to take these conditions into consideration as they arise.
Be sure to check the forecast for any weather factors that could make operations dangerous. In addition, inspect the ground before operating machinery on it, and plan to use stabilizers on soft ground.
Before any employee operates equipment by themselves, they need to receive safety training. As they become aware of the standards and practices set by your employer, this will help ensure a safer work environment.
Keep up-to-date records. Without any form of record keeping, it becomes impossible to know when the equipment was last inspected, repaired, or maintained.
Become familiar with all practices such as inspections, record keeping, personal protective equipment (PPE), fall protection and any other guidelines set by your employer.
Every day, a supervisor or competent person needs to carry out a risk assessment. Being aware of the constant changes on any worksite will help everyone take the necessary precautions to stay safe. This includes any hazardous conditions onsite but also extends to foreseeing any changes from weather, pedestrians, traffic, etc.
Communication is also key. Be sure to study the proper hand signals to help avoid workplace accidents. Radios can also be a great tool to help you communicate with your team.
Need Aerial Lift Training? Start Here!
Here at Hard Hat Training, we offer trainings on many different types of aerial lifts, including more general trainings:
- Aerial Lifts Safety Training
- Boom Lift Safety Training
- Boom Truck Safety Training
- Bucket Trucks Safety Training
- Vertical Lifts Safety Training
Good luck and stay safe!