Safe Operating Procedure(Revised 5/21)AERIAL LIFT SAFETYAerial lift operators must complete training and demonstrate proficiency in the recognition andmitigation of hazards associated with the operation of aerial lifts. To achieve proficiency,operators are advised to:1. Complete the EHS web-based Mobile Aerial Lift Safety training module(, or equivalent instructor-led training.2. Read the manufacturer’s operator’s manual for each model of lift that will be operated.3. Complete hands-on training with a competent and experienced individual (designatedby the responsible supervisor) and demonstrate proper operation under expectedoperating conditions before independently operating any lift. The form at the end of thisdocument can be used to document operator hands-on training but are not mandatory.An equivalent form of the department’s choosing can be used.The Nebraska Safety Council offers the following training: “Aerial Lift Safety: Train-theTrainer”. Local equipment distributors often offer training as well. These resources are notmandatory, but may be useful.ScopeThis SOP and the complementary EHS web-based training are specific to mobile aerial liftsthat are used to position personnel so that they can conduct work at elevated heights.Common activities include changing or adjusting theater or other lighting, painting, and othermaintenance-like operations. Models commonly used at UNL include manually and selfpropelled units; vertical masts, scissor lifts, articulating booms, telescoping booms, and vanmounted articulating booms. Examples of each of these are shown below.(Created 9/10)UNL Environmental Health and Safety · 402.472.4925 · http://ehs.unl.edu1

AERIAL LIFT SAFETYRegulatory BasisSeveral OSHA regulations and ANSI standards apply to aerial lifts and include provisions fordesign, operator training, and safe operating practices, these include: 29 CFR 1910.67 (Vehicle Mounted Elevating and Rotating Work Platforms)29 CFR 1926.453 (Aerial Lifts)29 CFR 1926.451 & .452 (Scaffolds)29 CFR 1926.20 (General Safety and Health Provisions)29 CFR 1926.21 (Safety Training and Education)Section 5 of the OSHA Act, commonly referred to as the “General Duty Clause.”American National Standards Institute (ANSI), A92.3, Manually Propelled ElevatingAerial PlatformsANSI, A92.6, Self-Propelled Elevating Work PlatformsANSI, A92.2, Vehicle Mounted Elevating and Rotating Aerial DevicesANSI, A92.5, Boom-Supported Elevating Work PlatformsGeneral Operational Safety Precautions All newly-acquired aerial lifts should meet the design and construction requirements ofthe relevant American National Standards Institute and OSHA standards. Every effortshould be made to replace equipment that does not meet current standards.Modifications to lifts are not allowed without express written approval from themanufacturer (maintain file documentation).Most lifts are designed for operation on relatively flat surfaces with minimal slope ( 5%). Do not operate on surfaces that exceed the manufacturer’s maximum rated slope.Lifts are to be used strictly for the purposes for which they were designed and inaccordance with manufacturer’s specifications and instructions.Service and repair are to be conducted only by qualified mechanics and replacementparts must meet the original equipment manufacturer’s specifications.Prior to each day’s operation, each operator must conduct a worksite and machineinspection, including applicable function tests of controls and safety devices. Thepurpose of these checks is to detect and abate hazard. An example checklist isprovided at the end of this SOP. Additional guidance is provided in the EHS aerial lifttraining module and the manufacturer’s operator’s manual.Hazards ElectrocutionNationally, one of the most common and deadly hazards associated with aerial lifts iselectrocution from contact with electrical wires and conductors. ANSI and OSHAstandards specify minimum safe distances that are to be maintained while working in anaerial lift, as indicated in the table below. If these distances cannot be achieved, doNOT use the equipment.(Created 9/10)UNL Environmental Health and Safety · 402.472.4925 · http://ehs.unl.edu2

AERIAL LIFT SAFETYVoltageMinimum distance 50 KV10 feet50 - 199 KV15 feet200 – 349 KV20 feet350 – 499 KV25 feet500 – 749 KV35 feet750 – 1000 KV45 feetOther precautions to avoid an electrocution hazard include:o If welding while on an aerial lift, do NOT use the platform or any part of themachine for grounding. Adhere to hot work permit requirements. See EHS SOP,Hot Work Operations.o If using electrified tools while on an aerial lift, use only tools that are doubleinsulated or have a grounding plug.o If using an electromechanical model lift, ensure that the proper gauge ofextension cord wire is used and that it is in good condition and equipped with agrounding plug.o Do not operate the machine outdoors if there is threat of lightening. In fact, donot operate during any type of inclement weather, including windy conditions,since fall and tip-over hazards are exaggerated in these conditions.o Personnel on the ground are prohibited from operating the ground controls whenan aerial lift is in contact with a live electrical source until such time as theelectrical source is de-energized. Tip-over and CollapseTip-over and collapse are also serious hazards associated with aerial lifts, being thesecond leading cause of injury associated with aerial lifts. Reduce this hazard byobserving the following precautions:o Never exceed the manufacturer’s specified maximum load (which includes theweight of the person and all tools/supplies/equipment, etc. that will be on theplatform).o Do not operate on surfaces that exceed the manufacturer’s maximum slope(typically 5% or less). Always use wheel chocks and brakes when operating onany slope.o Set up on a firm surface, well away from drop-offs.o When navigating a lift that is designed to move with the platform extended, avoiddebris, bumps, depressions, or potholes. Do not drive over floor grates orcovers. Never exceed the manufacturer’s maximum speed recommendations.o Know the type and proper usage of stabilizing mechanisms used on the lifts thatyou operate. Do not attempt to move or adjust stabilizing mechanisms while theplatform is raised.(Created 9/10)UNL Environmental Health and Safety · 402.472.4925 · http://ehs.unl.edu3

AERIAL LIFT SAFETYo Never position or tie off the lift or platform against a wall, structure, or othersurface.o Maintain the intended center of gravity by evenly dispersing loads on theplatform. Never attempt to increase the surface area of the platform with planks,boards, or other devices. Do not let materials extend over the edge of theplatform. Do not hang tools or equipment off the sides or rails of the platform.o Exercise care when raising and lowering the platform to avoid entangling ropes,cords, etc. in the machine.o Most aerial lifts are intended for a single person. Do not allow more than oneperson on a lift unless it is specifically designed for that purpose.o Avoid horizontal forces from work tasks that could cause the platform to swayand become unstable. This includes pushing off or pulling toward any surface,structure, or object outside of the platform.o Do not operate an aerial lift outdoors during windy conditions or other inclementweather.o Never climb on the mast or use ladders or scaffolds on any part of the machine.o Enter and exit the platform only through the intended access point/gate. FallsFalling from a lift is another hazard that must be recognized and steps taken to mitigatethe risk.o Guardrails typically provide adequate protection for scissor like and vertical mastlifts that are stationary, not capable of motive power while the platform isextended, and the platform raises straight up from its base, so long as workactivities and practices do not defeat the protection afforded by the guardrail. Afull-body harness personal fall arrest systems must be used when operating allboom type lifts. See EHS SOP, Fall Arrest Systems for specific requirements.o Restrict materials and equipment on the platform to that which can be safelyhandled by one person.o Keep both feet firmly on the floor of the platform. Do not attempt to gainadditional reach by standing on boxes, planks, or other objects.o Do not lean on or over the rails. Do not sit, stand, or climb on the guardrails.o Keep your shoes clean and ensure that they have a good, anti-slip tread.o Keep the platform clean and free of debris. Position equipment so that theweight is evenly distributed and in a manner that does not create a trip hazard.o Enter and exit the platform only when it is fully lowered.o If a platform or elevating assembly becomes caught, snagged, or otherwiseprevented from normal motion by adjacent structures or other obstacles such thatcontrol reversal does not free the platform, all personnel must be removed fromthe platform before attempts are made to free the platform using ground controls. CollisionCollision hazards can exist both overhead and on the ground. To avoid collisionhazards:o Lockout overhead cranes that are located within the working distance of the lift.(Created 9/10)UNL Environmental Health and Safety · 402.472.4925 · http://ehs.unl.edu4

AERIAL LIFT SAFETYo Look below before lowering a platform to verify that persons or objects are notpresent. Give warning of your intent to descend (audible alarm, voicecommands, etc.). If working as a team, verbally verify clearance of yourteammate(s) on the ground before lowering.o Avoid setting-up in high traffic areas. If absolutely necessary, attempt to conductwork at low-traffic times or work with appropriate personnel to temporarilyinterrupt traffic during the time that the lift is in use. Regardless of the trafficlevel, place warning barricades at a safe perimeter around the lift to detour bothpedestrian and vehicular traffic.o Be aware of the swing range. Set-up in a manner that avoids objects within therange of motion of the machine.o When moving a lift, use extreme caution and slow and deliberate motions,particularly when space is limited, traffic is high, surface conditions are potentiallyhazardous (slippery, pot-holes, etc.), or the route contains corners, blind spots,and other visual obstructions.o For drivable boom lifts, use the boom controls (not the drive controls) for finalpositioning of the platform close to objects. EntanglementObviously, any lift has many moving parts, which create pinch and/or shear points. Toavoid injury from pinch/shear points:o Keep hands, arms, and other body parts within the confines of the platform andguard rail while working on the platform. Keep hands and fingers away frommoving parts while on the ground.o Avoid loose clothing that could become caught in chains, pulleys, lifts, etc. Keeplong hair confined.o Always ensure that the machine is de-energized before conducting maintenanceand repairs. Improper UseIt is relatively simple to mitigate the risk of injury resulting from improper use.o Remove the key or otherwise secure a lift while it is being stored so that it is notavailable to unauthorized persons.o Do not allow anyone to operate a lift until they have completed instructional andhands-on training and they have demonstrated competency in the operation ofthe specific lift they are expected to use.o Refrain from horseplay.o Use an aerial lift only for the purposes and in the manner specified by themanufacturer. Never use an aerial lift as a crane. Hazardous AtmosphereThere are a couple of things that must be considered with respect to potentiallyhazardous atmospheres. The first is the workplace atmosphere irrespective of theaerial lift. Aerial lifts are not intrinsically safe, meaning that they can create sparks thatcould ignite flammable vapors, fibers, or dusts that may be in the atmosphere. Under(Created 9/10)UNL Environmental Health and Safety · 402.472.4925 · http://ehs.unl.edu5

AERIAL LIFT SAFETYno circumstances should a lift be operated in a hazardous location (contains, or has thepotential to contain, an explosive or flammable atmosphere). While UNL does not havework sites that ordinarily would contain flammable vapors/dusts/fibers, it is important torecognize that an anomalous condition could present such a hazard (e.g., leak/ruptureddrum or tank for gasoline or other solvent, etc.) and this would negate the use of anaerial lift.The other atmospheric hazard to be aware of may arise from operation of certain lifts inunsuitable locations. For example, gasoline, propane, and diesel engines generateexhaust fumes (carbon monoxide and other pollutants) that can be hazardous to theoperator and others. This is especially problematic when operating a combustionengine lift in areas that have insufficient ventilation. To avoid creating a hazardousatmosphere:Use electric powered units in confined areas.Install carbon monoxide detectors in use areas.Adhere to maintenance schedules to ensure efficient fuel combustionRemove a lift from service that does not appear to be operating normally (e.g.,excessive smoke)o Clean up spills and leaks of fluidso Know the symptoms of exposure to carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide iscolorless and odorless- you can’t easily detect overexposure through yourordinary senses. Rather, you are likely to suffer symptoms such as shortness ofbreath, nausea, headache, or light-headedness at low to moderateconcentrations. Prolonged or high exposures can lead to death. If you suspectan overexposure, seek fresh air. As needed, seek medical attention.oooo Defective MachineBefore an aerial lift can be used safely it must be in safe condition. That is the purposeof a pre-use inspection: to detect defects or damage that could impair the functioning ofthe machine or the operator’s familiarity with the controls. If a defect is detected duringthe pre-use inspection, the machine must be clearly tagged out of service un