National Safety Stand-Down: What is the difference between “familiarization” and “general training?”

One of the most frequently asked questions we get in the training department at Genie is “what is the different between ‘familiarization’ and ‘general training’ for aerial work platforms?” The answer to this question is two-fold. First, it is important to understand the difference in definition, and second, it is important to know the difference in details for each.

Definition of general training: Training that provides instructions for operators regarding the inspection, application and operation of aerial work platforms, including recognition and avoidance of hazards associated with their use. When properly completed, general training is the first step toward qualifying an operator to operate any type of aerial work platform as long as he or she is also familiarized with the controls and safety devices of the specific machine to be used.

Definition of familiarization: Operator is familiar with the specific piece of aerial work platform he/she will be operating.

L7746_11Here’s what you need to know about general training:

Only operators who have received general instructions regarding the inspection, application and operation of aerial platforms, including recognition and avoidance of hazards associated with their operation, should operate an aerial platform.

Such items covered shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following issues and requirements:

  1. The purpose and use of manuals
  2. That operating manuals are an integral part of the aerial platform and must be stored properly in the weather-resistant compartment when not in use
  3. A pre-start inspection
  4. Responsibilities associated with problems or malfunctions affecting the operation of the aerial platform
  5. Factors affecting stability
  6. The purpose of placards and decals
  7. Workplace inspection
  8. Safety rules and regulations
  9. Authorization to operate
  10. Operator warnings and instructions
  11. Actual operation of the aerial platform. Under the direction of a qualified person, the trainee shall operate the aerial platform for a sufficient period of time to demonstrate proficiency in the actual operation of the aerial platform

Here’s what you need to know about familiarization:

Under the direction of a qualified person, the operator must be familiarized with the specific model of the aerial platform to be operated. This includes:

  1. Knowing where the weather resistant compartment for manual(s) storage is located
  2. Knowing the operating and maintenance manuals supplied by the manufacturer are stored in the weather resistant compartment and is familiar with the operating and safety manuals
  3. Understanding all control functions, placards and warnings
  4. An awareness of and understanding all safety devices specific to the model aerial platform being used

Learn more about OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down Week May 2nd 6th by visiting: https://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/

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