One of the top causes of fatalities and injuries on construction worksites is associated with aerial lifts. They account for major hazards like falls, crushed-by accidents, and electrocutions every year.
Aerial lifts are heavy pieces of equipment that must be handled with the utmost care to prevent these unfortunate events. Safety practices and protocols have been made to help aerial lift operators avoid hazards and protect their lives during work.
From the pre-inspection, before starting up the aerial lift to the equipment and tools to use in your actions, safety is the topmost priority to avoid lives putting into risk. We have assembled four steps to perform aerial lift safety inspection to help you stay safe on the worksite and prevent accidents.
Pre-Job Work Environment Assessment
Besides the actual machinery, the ill-managed work environment is often responsible for aerial lift accidents. For instance, high winds can cause fatal tip-overs. Electrocutions can occur due to a neglected work zone and not following an aerial lift safety checklist. Following are the areas that need attention to ensure you work in a safe work zone:
- Inadequate ceiling heights
- Overhead obstructions
- Ditches, slopes, and bumps on the ground
- Debris and clutter on the floor
- Electrical power lines and cables
- Holes, drop-offs or unstable surfaces
- Workers in close proximity are at risks
Before you start operating the aerial lift, it needs to be inspected to ensure there are no faulty parts that can promote an unsafe situation. The pre-operational inspection covers each component of the lift to ensure the safety of the equipment as well as work place. It involves two main sections:
- Personal protection devices
- Emergency controls
- Electrical and fuel systems
- Fiberglass and insulating components
- Missing or illegible charts, instructional markings or warnings
- Locking pins and mechanical fasteners
- Stabilizers and outriggers
- Wheels and tires
- Proper fluid levels or any leaks
- Lower-level controls
- Lights, gauges, horns, steering, brakes, and backup alarms
If any of these components are malfunctioning, postpone the work to prevent accidents and collapses.
Aerial Lift Certification
While all of the safety practices are critically important for preventing accidents, another crucial method of avoiding accidents is ensuring all employees are trained.
Imagine you have the lanyards, harnesses, cones, lights, and a stable work zone area, but how could you expect to recognize hazards without proper training? As an employer, make sure that all your employees have aerial lift certification to increase productivity at the worksite. The program teaches how to perform inspections, safe aerial lift operation, understand fall protection, and other components outlined in the safety checklist.
Crushed-by accidents and electrocutions can occur when an operator standing in the bucket platform comes in contact with the overhead obstruction.
Further, when an aerial lift placed on an unstable surface or comes into contact with an overhead object, tip-overs can occur and cause serious hazards. Follow this safety checklist for stabilizing the aerial lift and overhead protection:
- Be attentive to electrical wires, cables, and power lines.
- Disconnect power lines in the work zone.
- Be aware of objects and overhead clearances.
- Set outriggers on sloped surfaces and brakes when the equipment needs stabilization.
- Set up the work zone with warnings like signage, barriers, and cones.
Since industrial sites are one of the accident-prone areas, supervisory presence, and proactive steps are crucial to keeping everyone protected on the site!