If you’ve been in the sign business for very long, chances are you’ve been involved with installing signs high above the ground at some point in time. But although aerial equipment can lift you with ease, it also has the potential to turn deadly. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration—www.osha.gov), aerial lifts—which include boom-supported aerial platforms such as bucket trucks and cherry pickers—the major causes of aerial lift equipment fatalities are falls, electrocutions, collapses and tip-overs. Following are some aerial lift safe work practice guidelines provided by OSHA.
- Ensure that workers who operate aerial lifts are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment.
- Maintain and operate elevating work platforms in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
- Never override hydraulic, mechanical, or electrical safety devices.
- Never move the equipment with workers in an elevated platform unless this is permitted by the manufacturer.
- Do not allow workers to position themselves between overhead hazards, such as joists and beams, and the rails of the basket. Movement of the lift could crush the worker(s).
- Maintain a minimum clearance of at least 10 feet, or 3 meters, away from the nearest overhead lines.
- Always treat power lines, wires and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or appear to be insulated.
- Use a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or basket to prevent the worker(s) from being ejected or pulled from the basket.
- Set the brakes, and use wheel chocks when on an incline.
- Use outriggers, if provided.
- Do not exceed the load limits of the equipment. Allow for the combined weight of the worker, tools, and materials.
(image courtesy of YESCO)