Aerial Lift Safety Regulations

Aerial lifts are widely used by electrical workers, construction workers, painters and in other jobs where the use of ordinary ladders would be impossible or inconvenient. The use of aerial lifts, however, can be hazardous. There have been many reported cases where workers were catapulted from the aerial lifts to the ground or items have fallen from the lifts and landed on someone's head. To prepare for these hazards and to prevent their occurrence, aerial lift safety regulations have been formulated. Some aerial lift regulations are almost standard (that is, they apply wherever aerial lifts are used) while others are a matter of work policy and vary from site to site.

  1. Types

    • For the most part, aerial lift regulations cover all aspects of aerial lift usage: the pre-operative period (when the workers are preparing to use the lift); the operative period (when the aerial lift is actually in use); and the post-operative period (after the aerial lift has been used).

    Pre-Operative Period

    • Aerial lift safety regulations for the pre-operative period usually include a checklist of tasks the operator must go through before beginning to use the aerial lift. These checklists include operations like verifying that the emergency controls and safety gear are operational. A physical inspection is also made of the lift to verify that there are no loose parts that require adjustment before usage begins.

    Operative Period

    • Safety regulations covering the operative period (when the lift is in actual use) are aimed at preventing injuries while the workers are actually on the lift. The goal is to prevent tip-overs (a common cause of aerial lift-related injuries and deaths) and electrocutions, especially when the lift is used for electrical repairs.

    Post-Operative Period

    • The post-operative safety regulations usually require the lift operator to complete a log of situations that may have gone wrong or small faults that may have been noticed in the course of the lift's usage, so that these matters may be properly attended to before the lift is used the next time.

    OSHA Regulations

    • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has its own specific regulations for aerial lifts. Lift controls must be tested daily; lifts may be modified to be used beyond what the manufacturer intended them for if granted in writing by the manufacturer; a body belt must be worn at all times by a lift operator; the lift truck cannot be moved when someone is standing in the boom.

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