Key Steps to Safe Lift Operation

lifts, aerial work platforms, equipment rental, training   July 6, 2009

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media, with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is ensuring safe lift operation.

Safe lift operation requires both managers and equipment operators to focus on key activities and responsibilities.

The first step is to perform a walk-around inspection to determine if the lift is mechanically safe. Inspectors should check operating and emergency controls, safety devices, such as outriggers and guardrails, personal fall-protection gear, wheels, tires, and other machine components specified by the manufacturer.

They also should look for possible leaks of air, hydraulic fluid, and fuel, as well as loose or missing parts.

The second step is to evaluate the worksite to determine if it is safe for operating a lift. Inspectors need to ensure the site has a level surface that will not shift, and they have to check the slope of the ground or floor.

The third step is performing a test to determine if the equipment functions safely. Function tests are designed to discover malfunctions before operators use the lift. The operator must follow the step-by-step instructions to test machine functions, inspecting each lift based on manufacturer requirements.

The fourth step is evaluating the competency of operators to determine if they can operate the aerial work platform safely. Operators often lack the training to know they are creating safety hazards. Lift operators must receive documented training before obtaining approval to operate the equipment.

Finally, operators must be able to shut down and store the lift properly. When the units are not in use, operators must stow them securely by following manufacturer instructions.


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