National Safety Stand-Down 2017: 10 Safety Tips for Operating Aerial Work Platforms on the Jobsite

At Genie, our number one priority is to provide safe, productive aerial work platforms for our customers. Once the equipment is in the field, operators must follow the prescribed operating practices outlined in our manufacturer’s recommended guidelines to keep the equipment working safely and productively.

The best way to reduce the risk of incidents from happening while operating an aerial work platform on a jobsite, operators should know and follow these 10 tips as a minimum for safe work practices:

  1. Receive proper training (both general training and hands-on practical training) on, as well as become familiar with, the exact aerial work platform you will be operating. This includes thoroughly reading the operator’s manual and safety signs on the machine, as well as understanding the function and location of all safety devices and controls before beginning operation.
  2. Read, understand and obey all of your employer’s safety rules and worksite regulations, as well as any applicable local, governmental or provincial regulations that apply before operating the machine.
  3. Perform a pre-operation inspection and function tests on the equipment before each shift. If the machine fails any of these inspections or tests, make sure it is immediately tagged and removed from service until it can be repaired by a qualified service technician.
  4. Perform a workplace hazard assessment prior to moving machine to the jobsite. Look for hazardous situations such as drop-offs and holes, slopes, slippery or unstable surfaces, overhead obstacles, power lines and any other hazards that may exist and develop a plan to avoid those hazards through all phases of machine operation.
  5. S105_ext_plat_H706Wear the proper fall protection and always connect them to the designated anchor points. A properly fitted full body harness and appropriate lanyard or self-retracting lifeline will reduce the potential for an operator being catapulted from the platform of a boom. The impact at the base of the machine can translate into a sudden and powerful whiplash at the platform — if this happens, wearing the proper fall protection may reduce the chances of serious injury or even death.
  6. Only raise the platform on firm level surface. If the level alarm sounds, it means you need to move it to a level surface before elevating the platform. If you are already elevated when the alarm sounds, immediately lower the platform and move to a firm level area.
  7. Never elevate the platform in close proximity to energized powerlines. Always refer to the manufacturers safety information on the machine and in the operators manual for minimum safe clearance information.
  8. Do not sit, stand or climb on the platform guardrails. Operator should maintain a firm footing on the platform floor at all times. If an operator is required to reach an overhead work area that is too small for the platform guardrails to allow access to, determine if the selected aerial work platform is the right one for the job. Alternatively,the use of a manufacturer-approved device, specifically designed to provide additional access to confined spaces is recommended.
  9. Do not exit an elevated boom or scissor lift platform unless you have been properly trained to do so, maintain 100 percent tie-off at all times and are in possession of an approval letter from the manufacturer that provides the proper guidance.
  10. Do not climb down from the platform when it is raised. Whenever possible, keep a cell phone or two-way radio with you while you are in the platform and always have a rescue plan in place in the event that the secondary lowering system (i.e. emergency lowering system) system malfunctions.

Be sure to follow these simple, safe operating tips to keep your aerial work platform performing productively day in and day out, from one application to another.

7 comments for “National Safety Stand-Down 2017: 10 Safety Tips for Operating Aerial Work Platforms on the Jobsite

  1. November 30, 2015 at 10:40 am

    would like to see these in plasticized thick stock, cards we can hang by the controller,

  2. Michael Sheridsan
    November 30, 2015 at 10:49 am

    In regard to your safety tip #8, does Genie make an “……..approved device, specifically designed to provide additional access to confined spaces?”
    Michael Sheridan
    Aerial Access Equipment
    Baton Rouge, La

    • Scott Owyen - Training Manager
      Scott Owyen - Training Manager
      December 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Yes, Genie does offer an approved device that is specifically designed to provide additional access to confined spaces. Genie worked directly with Man Lift Manufacturing during their design of the SHU vertical reach platform extension. The SHU quickly and easily replaces the existing platform extension deck and allows workers to increase working height, providing an additional 20” of vertical reach.

      It can be used with the rails up, or lowered when used in conjunction with the integrated fall protection system and allows access to narrow spaces such as ceiling grids and joists.

      The SHU complies with ANSI A92.6-2006 and CSA B354.2 standards for self-propelled vertical lifts and can be installed on any 2004 or newer 30” or 46” Genie scissor lift.

      Please see additional information on the SHU on Page 3 of the attached Genie Genuine Parts and Accessories brochure.

      The SHU may be purchased through any Genie dealer.

  3. November 30, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Great list Scott! If all operators could take these tips to heart, we’d read fewer AWP headlines in the news.

  4. July 28, 2016 at 8:42 am

    I love all your advice about making sure the workplace is ready to work before the lift gets there. Preparation is the best way to avoid major problems in my opinion, so I really liked your advice. Thanks for sharing!

  5. August 1, 2016 at 10:51 am

    I didn’t realize that there were so many precautions when operating an aerial work platform. I think this is really important to be safe while working machinery especially when they are in the air. I will definitely keep this in mind when I am operating an aerial work platform. Thanks for the helpful tips!

  6. January 17, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    I like that you pointed out that you shouldn’t sit or stand on the guardrails. That makes perfect sense, and I’m sure that people feel safer while standing up normally if something weird happened. I also think that it is smart to buy the right machine from the right company.

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