Following safety guidelines while working with aerial lifts may help prevent some potentially serious workplace accidents.  Aerial lifts have increased in popularity at job sites including construction, warehousing, and telecommunications. While often having increased flexibility and mobility over traditional ladders and scaffolding, workers may still suffer serious injuries or death due to aerial lift accidents.

Prevent Aerial Lift Accidents

Vehicle-mounted and used to elevate workers, equipment, or tools and supplies, aerial lifts expose workers to a range of potential workplace hazards. For instance, workers may suffer serious injury or death as a result of falling from an elevated lift, getting struck by objects that fall from lifts, suffering electric shock, or making contact with the ceiling or other overhead objects. Applying the following tips to their routines when working with aerial lifts, however, may help people protect themselves on the job, as well as their coworkers.

Conduct Pre-Operation Inspections

Equipment failures when working on aerial lifts may have catastrophic consequences, so it may help for workers to inspect these vehicles before putting them to use. In addition to checking the vehicle’s fluid levels, wheels, lights, and backup alarms, workers should keep watch for any missing or loose parts while performing their pre-use checks. Further, workers should test that all the systems and the lift itself are functioning properly before loading such equipment with any workers or supplies.

Watch Out for Hazards

Before using an aerial lift on the job, workers may find it helpful to check their work zone and the surrounding area for potential hazards. For example, they should look for bumps, unstable surfaces, drop-offs, holes, or anything else that may cause similar obstructions and could cause the vehicle to tip over or otherwise affect its stability. Workers should also take note of the ceiling height and any overhead objects, including communication cables or electrical lines, to ensure they have adequate clearance to elevate the lift.

Use Lifts Only as Intended

When operating aerial lifts, workers should take care to use them only for their intended purposes and as directed. To this end, this includes refraining from overriding the mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic safety devices; carrying objects larger than the platform or exceeding the load-capacity limits; or surpassing the lifts horizontal or vertical reach limits. Additionally, workers may benefit from wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment.