Monday, September 2, 2013

OSHA's Fall Protection Requirements for Aerial Lifts

When I first set down and began drafting this month’s blog post, I started off with the intent to address the many different fall protection requirements for general industry and construction. But I decided to shift gears (don’t worry, I’ll cover the general requirements in a future blog) and instead address the fall protection requirements for one specific type of equipment where I see the most misunderstandings among employers and employees: aerial lifts.
Federal OSHA standards 1910.67 and 1926.453 address aerial lifts for general industry and construction (respectively). Both of those contain a specific requirement that “A body belt shall be worn and a lanyard attached to the boom or basket when working from an aerial lift.” However, it is what the standards don’t say that can cause confusion.

During inspections of work sites, I commonly see someone working in an aerial lift wearing a full-body harness with a six-foot fall arrest lanyard attached to a tie-off point in the basket or work platform. When I ask why they are wearing that equipment, most tell me . . .