The #1 OSHA Aerial Lift Certification and Training Site! Get Started Now.

How Do Accidents Happen on Aerial Lifts?


how boom lift accidents happen and can be prevented

Aerial lifts are known for their impressive size and reach capabilities. They have made the tasks of tree care, window cleaning, exterior building maintenance, and many others possible. But with great possibility comes great risk. There are an estimated 12 fatal injuries in workplaces every day in the US, and many of them are caused by aerial lift accidents. Working at great heights puts workers on and near the lift at risk, and is responsible for serious injuries, deaths, costly equipment damage, and legalities every day.

Aerial lift fatalities are an unfortunate part of industrial work activity. Yet some fatalities can be prevented with common sense safety measures. ALC’s OSHA compliant safety training programs are designed to avoid aerial lift fatalities, scissor lift accidents, and other job-related OSHA violations.

How do accidents happen on aerial lifts? And what can be done to prevent injuries and aerial lift fatalities? This article will help answer these questions and much more – but first, let’s review some of the most common aerial lift accidents.

The Most Common Aerial Lift Accidents

From 1992-1999, 26 construction workers died from boom lift accidents, while there were 69 electrocutions from improper aerial lift use. During that time, there were also 64 falls, 46 collapses/tip-overs, 23 caught in/caught between, and 5 other deaths related to aerial lifts. With 207 aerial lift fatalities from 1992-1999, 70 percent of those were boom lift accidents.

25 percent of aerial lift deaths are due to scissor lift accidents, which typically occur from falls related to being struck by an object and tip-overs from driving with the lift extended. Most aerial lift accidents and aerial lift fatalities can be avoided by keeping buckets clear from overhead objects, such as power lines, utilizing proper harnesses and safety gear, and keeping the lift clear from obstructions, including other workers.

ALC’s training packages include useful information about how to take care of overhead obstacles and avoid other safety hazards. As a result, your company can reduce the chance of aerial lift fatalities, accidents, and injuries. It’s not just the law; it’s also a great way to avoid aerial lift fatalities and other serious on-the-job incidents.

Most boom lift accidents occur when safety guidelines are ignored, such as driving a lift while it’s extended, exceeding manufacturer requirements, and operating on uneven surfaces.

How Do Boom Lift Accidents Happen?

According to OSHA, the most common types of aerial lift accidents are tip-overs, workers falling from heights, electrocutions, workers being struck by vehicles and other objects, and workers being crushed by objects. However, the vast majority of these aerial lift accidents are a result of negligence, error, or failure to follow the American National Standards Institute’s and OSHA’s guidelines, resulting in death or severe injuries. Safety violations are the most common cause of boom lift accidents, which include: lack of fall protection, tip-overs, working near power lines, crushing/pinching, falling objects, and unstable surfaces. As you can see, there’s no single glaring issue when it comes to aerial lift fatalities. There are many factors that contribute to serious accidents. That’s why comprehensive training is so important – as an aerial lift operator, you have to be prepared for everything that comes your way. With ALC’s training, you’ll have a well-rounded skill set and real-world knowledge of OSHA safety guidelines to reduce the chances of aerial lift fatalities.

How Can Aerial Lift Fatalities and Accidents Be Prevented?

Aerial lift hazards are very serious and not to be taken lightly. However, they are preventable with the right knowledge, protection equipment, and training.

safety is important in preventing aerial lift accidents

With the right training, you can help prevent boom lift accidents


In order to prevent boom lift accidents like tip-overs, ejections, electrocutions and falls, aerial lift operators and employers need to follow the safety procedures and precautions listed below that can be broken up into six main components:

Fall Protection

  • – Make sure access gates are closed
  • – Stand on the floor of the bucket or platform firmly
  • – Do not climb on the guardrails
  • – Use a body harness and lanyard whenever operating on an aerial lift
  • – Do not belt off to nearby structures while in the aerial lift bucket



  • – Never exceed load-capacity limits
  • – Do not carry objects that are bigger than the platform
  • – Do not drive the aerial lift with the platform raised
  • – Do not exceed vertical or horizontal reach limits
  • – Do not operate an aerial lift or scissor lift in poor weather, like high winds
  • – Do not override the safety devices on the lift


Overhead Protection

  • – Assess surroundings and be aware of overhead objects and structures
  • – Do not position the aerial lift between overhead hazards
  • – Consider all electrical lines live
  • – Stay at least ten feet away from all power lines
  • – De-energize power lines when nearby


Proper Stabilization

  • – Use outriggers on level surfaces and set the brakes when used
  • – Use wheel chocks on sloped surfaces when safe
  • – Set up work zone areas with cones and signs to warn others nearby


Pre-Start Inspections

Inspect the vehicle components (fluid levels, leaks, wheels, tires, battery, alarms, brakes) and lift components (controls, insulating components, hydraulic, air, pneumatic, fuel and electrical systems, guardrail systems, etc.) to catch any defects or damages to prevent boom lift accidents.

Operator Training

Make sure all aerial lift operators are trained and certified to operate aerial lifts before any work begins. Retrain workers at least once every three years, or when unsafe practices are observed or a new type of aerial lift is being used.

Where to Get Aerial Lift Training to Prevent Aerial Lift Accidents

Boom lift accidents are caused by a number of hazards and can be prevented using many types of safety practices. However, the best and most effective way to prevent aerial lift accidents is through proper operator training. Aerial lift training from is fast, easy, convenient, and affordable. The program is self-paced, but it typically takes trainees only about one hour to complete, from any device with the internet.

For only $299, workers will receive instant access to our aerial lift and scissor lift training kit and will receive everything they need to be safe and efficient operators.

In a single afternoon, workers can be trained and certified to operate aerial lifts and be prepared to prevent these aerial lift accidents. They will learn how to operate the controls, perform equipment inspections, assess the environment for hazards, and prevent boom lift accidents.

Sign up today and get your aerial lift certification!

Learn More about Preventing Aerial Lift Fatalities and Accidents

Aerial lifts are used in many capacities, but they are linked to injuries and fatalities every year on worksites. Falls are one of the most common types of boom lift accidents on worksites. The key to preventing them is by making sure workers have the tools and knowledge they need to avoid falling hazards. Fall protection is a very important component of aerial lift safety. It keeps workers on the platform and out of the hospital. Learn more about why fall protection is an OSHA requirement, how it can help prevent boom lift accidents, and what goes into fall protection protocols and equipment.

When it comes to industrial accidents and fatalities, boom lift accidents can’t be ignored. From unstable terrain to high winds, boom lifts present many unique safety challenges. What is the best way to prevent aerial lift fatalities? Check out this popular ALC blog post for plenty of useful tips & tricks. Our OSHA safety experts have put together an informative, enlightening collection of practical safety protocols that will benefit any aerial lift operator. This blog post shows how to avoid aerial lift fatalities and accidents with advice related to stabilization, pre-start inspections, overhead protection, preventing falls, and much more. Check it out today – reduce the chance of aerial lift fatalities at your company today!

Refund Policy