Providing Aerial Lift Operator Training

July 17, 2017- Much like other professional machinery and equipment, training is required before anyone operates an aerial lift. While lifts offer better flexibility in elevating personnel than a ladder, because they are mechanical and electrical, they also pose different risks.

Operation of an aerial lift can be done only by trained and authorized individuals. Because of the risk of injury or death from accidents involving falling, electric shock, or structural failures, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a strict policy for aerial lift operator training.

Aerial Lift Training Requirements

Instituting a proper training program for all users of aerial lifts is critical for any business. According to OSHA, this program must be administered by a qualified trainer and include the following:

  • Demonstrations of lift operation
  • Training requirements from aerial lift manufacturer
  • Descriptions of operation risks (falling, objects falling, etc.) and what to do if they happen
  • Discussion on maximum intended load and load capacity
  • Explanation of correct lift operation
  • How to identify and prevent unsafe conditions
  • Rules and schedule for performing inspections

In addition to these requirements, companies must establish standard emergency procedures as well as offer training for lift maintenance and acceptable personal protection equipment. This includes inspecting the equipment before use and attaching the user to the bucket or boom with a body harness and lanyard. If accidents occur, new lifts are used or there are hazards uncovered in the workplace, workers must be retrained. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) also says retraining might be necessary if the employer isn’t satisfied with an evaluation of the operator.

There is no aerial lift certification offered by OSHA, but only those approved or assigned by the employer to complete certain tasks are considered authorized operators. Until training has been completed, employers should not assign any worker to operate an aerial lift. There are several online manuals and materials available to assist an employer with aerial lift training.

For maximum safety at a job site, it’s important for workers to be trained on the specific equipment and environment before beginning a project. Someone without training should never be allowed near an aerial lift and the workers on the ground need to always be on alert for problems or possible hazards. Aerial lifts can be ideal for above-ground projects, but only if all safety precautions are taken first.