Aerial Work Platforms

Aerial boom platforms, cherry pickers, and other types of aerial lifts are often used to provide a safe, mobile alternative to scaffolding and ladders. Any of the following are considered aerial lifts: extendible boom platforms, aerial ladders, articulating booms, vertical towers, bucket trucks, vehicle-mounted aerial devices and any combination of any such devices.

Aerial Boom Platform                    Genie Lift

Aerial lifts fall under the OSHA Construction Standard, 29 CFR 1926.453, Aerial Lifts. The following are topics to consider when planning to use an aerial lift:

Prior to Operating an Aerial Work Platform

The following factors must be considered prior to operating an aerial work platform:

  • Pre-operation inspection - Operators must check the condition of the lift prior to each work shift of use and remove the lift from service if any issues are discovered. The pre-operation checklist should include: testing the lift controls (upper and lower), brakes, gauges, visually inspecting tires, etc. REPORT ANY ISSUES AND DO NOT USE!
  • Capacities - Do not exceed the posted capacities for the boom and basket.
  • Operator's Manual - The operator's manual must be located in a weather-tight container in the operator's compartment. Check to ensure it is present before use.
  • Plan travel path - Be sure to scope out your travel path prior to moving the lift. Look for holes, pits or sharp objects which could damage tires. Travel areas must be able to withstand the weight of the lift and load. Underground projections and tunnels may not be visually evident. Click here for a link to the campus map showing underground projections and tunnels.
  • Plan work area - Determine whether skids or other protective devices may be necessary for where the lift will be located. Once a lift is in place, use the swing and boom features to position the basket, rather than moving the lift.
  • Check weather - Lifts may not be operated in wind gusts at or above 28 mph. Check the local weather forecasts for predicted wind speeds in our area or check with EHS if you are not certain whether or not conditions allow for use of the lift.

Aerial Lift Work Practices

  • Fall protection - When using aerial work platforms that articulate or rotate beyond the base, all basket occupants must wear a body harness attached to the basket anchor points. Guardrails are required on all lifts and may not be climbed or defeated in any way.
  • Moving the lift - Unless specifically designed to do so, the lift must not be lowered before moving it horizontally. Escort vehicles ahead of and/or behind the lift may be required when moving the lift across campus.
  • Outriggers and brakes - Outriggers must be positioned on pads or solid ground when used. Brakes must be set anytime outriggers are used. Wheel chocks must be installed before the lift is used when working on an incline.
  • Barricades & signs - The rotating superstructure of an operating aerial lift must be cordoned off and access to that area must be restricted through the use of barricades, cones, and/or caution tape. Signage may also be necessary to keep pedestrians out of the hazardous area.
  • Electrical hazards - All equipment, personnel and elements of the lift must be kept at least 10 feet away from any overhead electrical conductor. For more information on minimum safe approach distances, click here.

Aerial Work Platform Operator Training

Only trained and authorized persons are allowed to operate an aerial lift. Training is offered by Environmental Health and Safety and includes:

  • Explanations of electrical, fall, and falling object hazards;
  • Procedures for dealing with hazards;
  • Recognizing and avoiding unsafe conditions in the work setting;
  • Instructions for correct operation of the lift (including maximum intended load and load capacity);
  • Demonstrations of the skills and knowledge needed to operate an aerial lift before operating it on the job;
  • When and how to perform inspections
  • Manufacturer’s requirements. 

In addition to the EHS classroom training, hands-on operator certification is required for telescoping boom lifts.

To view the upcoming schedule and sign up for an aerial work platform training class, sign in to the Employee Learning Center.