If your tasks require working at heights, there's a good chance that an aerial lift will play a vital role in getting the job done. These elevated platforms enable workers to perform functions such as repairing utility lines, exterior building maintenance, trimming trees, washing windows and conducting safety inspections.
Types of Aerial Lifts
Aerial lifts come in several different types, including boom lifts, material lifts, scissor lifts and vertical personnel lifts. There are also many configurations, including a cherry picker or basket on the end or smaller platforms that support materials as well as people. Aerial lifts can move straight up and down or at an angle and be suited to rough or smooth terrain.
The type of aerial lift you use will determine how workers need to use the machine and behave around it, so always check the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
While aerial lifts are productive and efficient machines, they do pose some hazards to workers. As with any job that involves working at elevation, the risk of falling is always present. Other potential dangers include coming in contact with electrical lines, falling objects that strike individuals on the ground, accidental ejections and machine tip-overs. Paying close attention to aerial lift safety steps is crucial for preventing accidents and injuries.
Aerial Lift Safety Tips
The Cat® Rental Store has assembled the following list of tips and advice to help you use your equipment productively and safely:
- Train your crews: Make sure your workers receive proper training for the types of lifts they operate and that they have up-to-date certifications. Also, be sure they have access to — and follow — the manufacturer's instructions regarding safe equipment use.
- Wear safety gear: Verify that workers are using the appropriate safety gear. Working at heights requires the right PPE, such as hard hats, steel-toed boots and safety glasses, along with body harnesses or restraining belts attached to the lift basket. Employees should also keep long hair pulled back and make sure no loose clothing could get caught in the equipment.
- Conduct regular inspections: Have your maintenance team inspect the lift before each use. Specific areas to check include fluid levels, tires, hydraulic and electrical systems, and emergency controls.
- Survey the job site: Check the work area for any hazards that could endanger operators, such as unstable terrain, overhead power lines or obstacles. Avoid using the equipment during heavy winds if possible.
- Keep the machine's capabilities in mind: Each aerial lift has a specific load and reach capacity. Attempting to exceed these parameters can put your workers at risk. Account for the combined weights of the workers, materials and tools. Other concerns include moving the equipment while a worker is raised up. Employees should never lean out of or sit on the edge of the basket.
- Work cautiously around power lines: Stay at least 10 feet away from electrical lines when using the machine. Always assume that the lines are energized, even if you believe they're not live.
- Apply the brakes: Always use brakes and outriggers to prevent the lift from rolling, even when working on level ground. Apply wheel chocks when using the machine on inclines.
- Lower before moving: Never attempt to move a scissor lift when it's in the raised position, especially if a worker is on the lift. Doing so could cause the machine to tip over.
- Never sit on the edge: Sitting on the side of the guardrail or bucket creates a fall hazard and could cause the lift to tip.
- Ensure all nearby workers understand the hazards of raised equipment. Employees should not place themselves between the equipment and other hazards, such as nearby walls and beams. Any workers moving around on the ground must be aware of the hazards of falling tools and moving equipment.
- Don't override safety features. It might be tempting to speed up work by moving the lift faster or higher, but the risks are not worth it.
Contact The Cat® Rental Store to Learn More
If you're considering renting an aerial lift, you need to work with a partner who takes care of their machinery so you can minimize the risk of equipment malfunctions. At The Cat® Rental Store, we take great care of our aerial lift equipment and can help you meet your safety requirements with lifts that are well-matched to your applications.
The Cat Rental Store offers a wide selection of aerial lifts for rent at competitive rates. Give us a call today at 1-800-RENT-CAT to get the rental process started and learn more valuable aerial lift safety tips. You can also visit a location near you or contact us online for a quick quote.
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