Monday, September 1, 2014

Are You TRULY Done With Aerial Lift Operator Training?

Let’s address one of those topics that a lot of people never think about until it is too late. And that is training for operators of aerial lifts of all types (boom-lifts and scissor-lifts) required per applicable OSHA and/or ANSI standards. I find that most employers do provide training for their lift operators on the function of the equipment’s controls. But I’m not talking about training just for the operator running the controls in the basket or work platform, I’m talking about ALL operators. Before I explain the specific problem I run across too often, it might help if I first recap the two different sets of controls available on most types of aerial lifts.

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  1. Not only should you have a plan to train someone to operate the lower controls if necessary, everyone who uses aerial lifts, man baskets, order picker forklifts or other elevated platform should have a rescue plan in case the unit gets stuck in the elevated position or the employee is suspended in their fall protection harness. - John Walsh, CSP

  2. This is an interesting issue that has come up many times with our training classes. As NES Rentals continues to provide the AWPT Training with the eLearning module from IPAF we are asked often about training of ground personnel. ANSI requires an employer to ensure anyone they direct to operate a lift be trained and familiarized. It is not simply a training issue but more importantly educating people on the differences between training and familiarization so they know that once they have received training, they still need to be familiar with each of the different control functions and safety devices on each lift they operate. This should be a major consideration in pre-job planning, risk assessments as well as rescue plans. Quality training programs will address all of these topics and educate operators and employers as to their responsibilities. While I agree that it is certainly not necessary to suggest a ground person follow around every lift while in operation, the importance of ensuring all personnel who may operate a lift have been trained and familiarized can not be understated and should be addressed before anyone climbs on a lift to begin working. NES Rentals is an AWPT Training Center and is working to help educate our customer and the industry on these subjects through the use of AWPT Operator Training using the eLearning module. These comprehensive, high quality training tools go a long way to dramatically improving safe operation and knowledge of equipment and responsibilities - Tony Radke, Manager - Safety Education, NES Rentals.

  3. Thanks for sharing Curtis. Your article points to the pitfalls of the desire by many to limit training to a 'need to train' basis. Sometimes this decision making process when assessing the need to train falls short of what is needed to be safe and compliant. Dale Eley

  4. There is another area which should be looked at. When using a conventional fork lift with a "basket". This operation should be followed using proper securing proceedures. The basket should be secured to the forks and locked, the person who is going to be pulling product should not get into the basket until the lift truck is squared and set in place to raise. Once the lift truck is square the operator will then place the lift truck in neutral, set the brake,shut off the lift truck. The employee can enter the basket and they should have the proper harness on and secured.Then proceed raise the employee to said level at a slow rate to proper level secure product.Once the product is secure the operator will lower the employee to ground slowly shut the lift truck down employee can then exit the basket. At no time should any employee ride in the basket.


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