Aerial Lifts

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The Aerial Lift Program is to provide training and qualification guidelines for the safe operation of aerial lifts and powered manned platforms.


This SHG applies to all employees and subcontractors working within our controlled worksites.

Qualification Requirements

All aerial lift operators are required to be fully qualified and competent in the operation of each piece of equipment they are required to operate. All New Hire operators are required to do the following:

  1. Provide proof of training and or experience valid within one (1) year and pass an examination prior to acceptance or
  2. Successfully complete the Aerial Lift Training Program. (Ref. Section 2.0)

Acceptable forms of proof of training and or experience are:

  1. Previous employers’ certification card dated (some facilities do not recognize proof of training from other facilities)
  2. Verification of ABC class room training
  3. Verification of any participating Safety Council class room training

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Aerial Lift Training Program

The Aerial Lift Training Program is intended for all operators. This program is generic in nature and is supplemented with manufacturer’s Operating and Safety Handbook and video. The training program consists of the following:

  1. OSHA Standards Overview
  2. Overview of manufacturers operation manual
  3. Viewing of video-tape training film
  4. Written examination
  5. Satisfactory check out by a qualified person

Successful completion of this program requires the following:

  1. Classroom instruction
  2. Written examination; A score of between 70% and 100% will require a review of missed questions, if any, and the score corrected to 100%. A score of below 70% will require complete retraining and testing.
  3. Field evaluation

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OSHA Standards Overview

Standards 29 CFR 1910.67 and 1926.453 of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) covers the operation of vehicle-mounted elevating and rotating work platforms and aerial lifts. In summary, these standards spell out specific requirements as to the construction, modification, and safe use of the equipment and training of operators. For more information concerning these standards, ask the Site Safety Supervisor for assistance, or contact the nearest OSHA office.

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  1. Manufacturer’s Operation and Safety Handbook
  2. Manufacturer’s Operator Training Video

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Aerial Lift Vocabulary & Parts

Aerial platform lifts are used as man lifts whenever work is being performed overhead, such as painting tanks, working on pipelines, etc. The aerial platform lift is one of the first tools to consider when performing the job. As with most specialized equipment, aerial platform lifts have a vocabulary of their own. Before you start learning about platform lifts, you need to make sure that you know the different parts and terms. Reference the manufacturer’s “Operating and Safety Handbook” for aerial platform lift parts. Some common aerial lift terms are as follows:

Auxiliary Power. Control used to lower the basket in an emergency.

Basket. Enclosed area where operator controls the aerial platform lift and performs all necessary work from this area.

Basket Controls. Controls usually located in the front middle of the basket area.

Basket Rotate Left. Control used to only rotate the basket left.

Basket Rotate Right. Control used to only rotate the basket right.

Choke. Control used to help start the gas engine when it is cold.

Deadman Switch. Foot switch that must be depressed before any of the controls on the aerial platform lift will operate.

Drive Forward. Control used to move the aerial platform forward.

Drive Reverse. Control used to move the aerial platform backwards.

Drive Speed. Control used to set the speed to which the aerial platform will travel.

Emergency Lowering Valve. Valve used to lower the basket when the aerial platform lift has no power.

Emergency Stop. Control used to kill the aerial platform lift in an emergency situation.

Engine Speed. Control used to set the engine speed.

Extending Axles. Axles that extend, used to stabilize the aerial platform lift.

Forward & Reverse Arrows. Arrows used to indicate travel direction.

Ground Controls. Controls used to operate the aerial lift from the ground in case of an emergency (also known as auxiliary controls).

Level Warning Light. Light that indicates that the base is 5 degrees or more out of level-don’t swing, raise, or scope if out of level.

Lift Down. Control used to lower the boom down.

Lift Up. Control used to lift the boom up.

Maximum Weight Placard. Placard on the aerial platform lift used stating the amount of weight the lift can handle.

On/Off Ignition. Control used to turn the ignition on or off.

Outriggers. Stabilizing devices used to stabilize the aerial platform lift.

Start Button. Button used to start the aerial platform lift.

Steer Left. Control used to turn the aerial platform left when traveling.

Steer Right. Control used to turn the aerial platform right when traveling.

Swing Left. Control used to swing the boom to the left.

Swing Right. Control used to swing the boom to the right.

Telescope In. Control used to retract the boom.

Telescope Out. Control used to extend the boom.

Tilt Down. Control used to tilt the basket down.

Tilt Up. Control used to tilt the basket up.

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Operating Procedures

  1. Reference the manufacturer’s video.
  2. Reference the manufacturer’s “Operating and Safety Handbook”.

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General Safety Rules

  1. Only authorized, trained employees shall operate an aerial lift.
  2. Lower basket to grade level to gain access to the platform.
  3. Aerial lifts operated near energized overhead lines shall be operated so that a minimum clearance of 10ft. (305 cm) is maintained.
  4. Lift controls shall be tested prior to use to determine that such controls are in safe working condition. See the Aerial Lift Operator’s Daily Checklist.
  5. Belting off to an adjacent pole, structure, or equipment while working from an aerial lift shall not be permitted.
  6. Employees shall always stand firmly on the floor of the basket. They shall not sit or climb on the edge of the basket or use planks, ladders, or other devices for a work position.
  7. A full body harness shall be worn and a lanyard attached to the boom or basket when working from an aerial lift.
  8. Boom and basket load limits specified by the manufacturer shall not be exceeded.
  9. Outriggers, when used, shall be positioned on pads or a solid surface. Wheel chocks shall be installed before using an aerial lift on an incline.
  10. Climbers shall not be worn while performing work from an aerial lift.
  11. The insulated portion of an aerial lift shall not be altered in any manner that might reduce its insulating value.
  12. Do not travel with the boom elevated or extended. However, it may be necessary to extend the boom while moving a few feet to position it.
  13. Aerial lifts may not be “field modified” for uses other than those intended by the manufacturer.
  14. Do not exceed the machine placard maximum platform load.
  15. Always look in the direction you are moving the unit, and be aware of everything above, below and around you. Never move the unit without a ground person.
  16. Do not attach wires or cables to the platform. Many aerial lifts have a place to plug in an electrical cord.
  17. Other personnel should be restricted from passing or working underneath the raised platform.
  18. A malfunctioning lift shall be shutdown and removed from service until repaired.

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