Aerial lifts include scissor lifts, bucket trucks, and cherry pickers. Here are some reasons why, each year, construction workers are killed or injured while using this equipment:
- They were not wearing a harness and fell off the equipment.
- They fell with the equipment when it tipped over.
- They were electrocuted when the equipment touched a power line or electrical wires.
Al was working in a bucket truck to reach a sign he needed to repair. The sign was located near some electrical wires. Al was not provided with a body harness. While he was working, the truck shifted. Al lost his
balance, fell 20 feet to the ground, and died.
- What caused this incident?
- How could this have been prevented?
- Have you or someone you know had an injury from aerial lifts? If so, what happened?
Before operating an aerial lift
- Check operating and emergency controls.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions and set outriggers, brakes, and wheel chocks, even if on a level surface. Look for a level surface that won’t shift. Never exceed the manufacturer’s slope limits.
- Look for potential hazards such as potholes, bumps, or debris that could cause the lift to tip over.
- Avoid contact with overhead hazards such as electrical wires or power lines.
- Ask your supervisor if the electrical wires or power lines near the work have been de-energized.
- Close lift-platform chains or doors, and check guardrails. OSHA requires guardrails on scissor lifts.
- Check personal fall protection equipment. If there are signs of damage, your employer should give you new equipment.
- Look for leaks of air, hydraulic fluid, and fuel.
- Always follow the procedures in the user manual.
- If working near traffic, set up cones and signs as work zone warnings.While operating an aerial lift
- Always close lift-platform chains or doors.
- Always wear fall arrest equipment with lanyard attached to a designated anchor point.
- Always stand on the floor of the bucket. Do not climb on or lean over the guardrails.
- DO NOT exceed the load limits. DO NOT drive an aerial lift with the lift extended, unless designed for that purpose.