Mobile and powered platforms, aerial lifts allow workers on construction sites and in other jobs to perform tasks at various heights. Working on these lifts, often well above the ground, opens workers up to certain risks, which may result in them suffering serious injuries or death on the job. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,380 workers suffered occupational injuries and 87 died between 2011 and 2014 while operating aerial lifts.
While inherent dangers may exist for workers who use aerial lifts on the job, employees on construction sites may take steps to help ensure their safety.
Conduct pre-use inspections
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, before working on an aerial lift, workers may benefit from inspecting the vehicle components and lift components. This includes checking the fluids, steering, brakes, operation and emergency controls, stabilizers and guardrail systems to ensure no defects exist and everything works as it should. Additionally, workers may find it helpful to look around their work zones to check for overhead obstructions, unstable surfaces or holes, and other workers in their areas, so they can watch out for these potential injury hazards while working.
Practice safe operation
Taking care to operate aerial lifts safely at all times and following the machinery’s directions may help workers prevent potentially serious work-related accidents. For example, employees should combine the weight of themselves and any other workers using the platform with those of the tools and materials they plan to use to make certain they do not exceed the lift’s load capacity limits.
Employ appropriate safety measures
Perhaps as essential as adhering to aerial lift’s operational directions, workers may also benefit from using the appropriate personal protective equipment and safety measures. For instance, using a restraining belt attached to the bucket or boom or wearing a body harness may help protect workers from suffering serious injuries or death in the event of a fall from an aerial lift.