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Lifts: What Does Training Program Entail?
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Lifts: How to Develop a Written Safety ProgramPt. 2: Aerial Work Platforms: OSHA, ANSI StandardsPt. 3: This PagePt. 4: Lifts: How to Inspect and Test Equipment
A written program that identifies those responsible for revising and updating the plan and includes workplace safety regulations is not enough to ensure safe operation of aerial work platforms. Another key step in the process is training operators on the proper use of the lift equipment. A written safety program must include operator-competency training. All operators of aerial work platforms must have documented training before operating the equipment.
OSHA requires that a qualified person train users to recognize and handle hazards, including electrical hazards, falls, and falling objects. Employees also must receive training on proper lift operation — including maximum intended load and load capacity — and they must demonstrate the ability to use the lift according to manufacturer requirements. If the hazards or the type of aerial lift change, or if workers are not operating a lift properly, they must go through retraining.
Before using the equipment, lift operators must demonstrate competency in and understand the following:
- purpose and use of the manufacturer’s operation manual
- pre-start inspection process
- identification of malfunctions and problems
- factors affecting stability
- purpose of placards and decals
- workplace inspections
- safety rules and regulations
- authorization to operate
- operator warnings and instructions
- operation of the aerial platform.
If more than one employee will be using an aerial work platform at different times in the same shift, each operator must follow all safety rules and instructions in the operator’s manual. This process requires every new employee to perform a pre-operation inspection, function tests, and a workplace inspection before using the equipment.
Eye on Hazards
A proactive written safety program includes a worksite assessment to determine if it is safe for operating an aerial work platform. Operators should review the job site to ensure it is free of hazards, such as holes, drop-offs, bumps, debris, and overhead power lines.
They should look for a level surface that will not shift, and they should check the slope of the ground or floor. Operators should keep in mind that a machine might not work properly on steep slopes that exceed manufacturer slope limits.
It also is important to keep a building’s occupants away from work areas in which an aerial work platform is operating, when possible. Operators should pay special attention to public traffic areas. Isolating the work area also prevents objects from bumping into the equipment and minimizes the chance of objects falling from the lift.
As the work platform is elevating, the operator and employees on the ground also must make sure there is enough clearance from overhangs or protrusions that might cross the path of the moving platform.