Lifts: How to Inspect and Test Equipment
By Jeffery C. Camplin - August 2011 - Equipment Rental & Tools
Once the work area passes inspection, operators must inspect and test the equipment. They must perform a walk-around inspection to determine if it is mechanically safe. The inspection includes checking: operating and emergency controls; safety devices, such as outriggers and guardrails; personal fall-protection gear; wheels and tires; and other components specified by the manufacturer.
Issues operators should look for during the inspection include leaks — air, hydraulic fluid, and fuel — and loose or missing parts. Operators should immediately remove from service aerial work platforms that do not operate properly or need repair. A qualified mechanic must make all repairs using equivalent replacement parts.
The next step is to perform a test to determine if the equipment functions safely. Function tests are designed to discover malfunctions before operators put the machine into service. The operator must follow step-by-step instructions to test all machine functions, including the operational and emergency controls of the equipment.
Operators also must inspect each aerial lift according to manufacturer recommendations. Only qualified mechanics can perform annual certifications. If the aerial work platform has a current inspection certificate, the individual operator still needs to test the functionality of the unit prior to use.
It is important that the written safety program follows the manufacturer’s instructions for proper shutdown and storage of the unit after each use. Typical recommendations include fully lowering the platform, engaging the emergency-stop buttons, turning the key switch to the off position, and removing the key.
Additional steps might include disconnecting the battery cable and removing the battery pack.
Operators should perform a final inspection on the entire machine to check for loose or unsecured items. They then can store the aerial work platform in a clean, secured area. Remember: Do not use the platform for storing materials.
Jeffery C. Camplin, CSP, CPEA is president of Camplin Environmental Services, Inc., a safety and environmental consulting firm in Rosemont, Ill.