Boom lift accidents are one of the top causes of injuries, fatalities, and expensive equipment damage on worksites across the United States. The amazing reach power of boom lifts is what allows them to scale skyscrapers, clean windows on the 10th floor of buildings, and rescue riders stuck on roller coasters. But it’s these same capabilities that make them so dangerous. Without the proper safety practices and operator training, boom lifts can be responsible for severe injuries, fatalities, and costly fines.
The Main Types of Boom Lift Accidents
The vast majority of boom 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 for boom lift accidents, which include: lack of fall protection, tip-overs, working near power lines, crushing/pinching, falling objects, and unstable surfaces.
From 1992-1999, 26 construction workers died from boom lift accidents from the following causes:
- 69 electrocutions from improper boom lift use
- 64 falls
- 46 collapses/tip-overs
- 23 caught in/caught between
- And 5 other deaths related to boom lifts.
With 207 aerial lift deaths from 1992-1999, 70 percent of those were boom lift accidents.
Causes of Boom Lift Accidents
Boom lift accidents often involve bucket ejections when safety harnesses and equipment like lanyards aren’t properly used. Collapses/tip-overs occur from broken equipment. In addition, electrocutions from overhead power lines account for one-third of accidents when workers do not maintain the OSHA suggested 10-foot distance. Also, during repositioning of the bucket, workers are often caught in between the bucket or between other objects.
Most all boom lift accidents can be avoided by keeping the buckets away from overhead objects, like power lines, using proper harnesses and safety gear, and keeping the lift away from obstructions, including other workers.
How to Prevent Boom Lift Accidents
Boom lift accidents are serious, but often preventable. Specific safety procedures and boom lift training are the most effective ways for workers to avoid accidents altogether and prevent injuries and deaths. Additionally, having trained operators with boom lift certification is what OSHA will be looking for if they ever show up on your worksite to perform an inspection. If they find that you have untrained workers, they’ll most likely write up a fine that can potentially run into the thousands!
According to OSHA, here are the various safety precautions operators and employers must take to prevent boom lift accidents:
Use Proper Fall Protection
- Body harnesses and lanyards must be used on boom lifts at all times; guardrails must be used on scissor lifts
- Stand firmly on the bucket
- Never belt off to adjacent structures
Traveling and Loading
- Load capacity limits must not be exceeded
- Do not put objects that are larger than the platform in the bucket
- Do not drive the boom lift with the bucket raised
- Do not exceed vertical or longitudinal limits
- Do not operate the boom lift in strong winds or other poor weather
- Do not override safety devices
- Be aware of all overhead structures and objects
- Keep clear of overhead hazards when positioning the boom lift
- Keep a ten-foot distance from power lines and consider them to be live
- Make sure all nearby power lines are de-energized
Stabilization of the Boom Lift
- Set outriggers on flat surfaces
- Use brakes with outriggers
- Use wheel chocks on sloped ground when safe to do so
- Set up work warning zones with cones and signs
Boom Lift Training
- Ensure all operators have completed training and have their boom lift certification
- Provide refresher training after an accident or near-miss occurs, or when a new boom lift is being used
Avoid Boom Lift Accidents with Boom Lift Training from ALC
Most boom lift accidents occur when safety guidelines are ignored, such as driving a lift while it’s extended, exceeding manufacturer requirements, operating on uneven surfaces, and neglecting the proper training. AerialLiftCertification recommends all aerial lift operators are properly trained, certified, and abide by OSHA and safety regulations to reduce the risk for lift-related deaths and injuries.
Our online program is easy, quick, and conveniently accessible from any device with an internet connection. Once workers have completed the modules at their own pace, from home or at work, and have passed all quizzes and tests, they will be able to print their operator card. Workers will have the knowledge and tools they need to prevent boom lift accidents, and avoid costly fines from OSHA.
Create an account on our website and receive your boom lift certification to prevent boom lift accidents in only one hour!