Changes to ANSI Work Platform Standards
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has announced that significant changes will be made to ANSI’s A92 safety standards. The changes affect the manufacturing, operator training and use of aerial work platforms (AWPs). Among the first changes to ANSI A92 since 2006, AWPs will now be known as mobile elevated work platforms, or MEWPs.
Mobile Elevated Work Platform: OSHA Definition
An MEWP is a machine commonly used to help workers complete tasks at heights. It enables workers to safely reach heights, so they can conduct work in a variety of industries, including:
– Electrical installation and repair
MEWPs are heavy-duty machines, and they must be used safely. As such, OSHA regulates the use of MEWPS and requires all operators to receive training. Otherwise, if workers are untrained, they could put themselves and others at risk of MEWP accidents. At the same time, the employers of untrained MEWP operators could face OSHA penalties.
A Closer Look at ANSI’s Standards for MEWPs
ANSI’s revised standards classify MEWPs under the following groups and types:
New MEWP Groups
Group A – MEWPs with platforms that move vertically, but stay within tipping limits
Group B – All other MEWPs, including those with booms and platforms that extend beyond the chassis
New MEWP Types
Type 1 platforms can only be moved in the stowed position
Type 2 platforms can travel with the boom or platform elevated, but must be controlled from the chassis
Type 3 platforms can also travel with the platform elevated, but are controlled from the work platform
MEWP Design Changes
Subsection 20 to ANSI Standard 92 covers design and manufacturing changes that affect MEWP load sensing, tilt sensing, stability and platform design. Here’s an overview of the new requirements:
Sustained Involuntary Operation
Protection against involuntary operation of the platform’s hand controls is now required. The new safety measure will override and shut off the platform’s controls in the event of an accident.
New systems will be required to closely monitor a platform’s load. When an overload is detected, normal operation will cease and an alarm will sound.
New Wind Force Requirements
Machines rated for outdoor use must be able to sustain winds of up to 28 mph. This could mean lower platform capacities and/or increased chassis weight for added stability.
Pneumatic Tire Requirements
The purpose is to avoid stability issues caused by failed air-filled tires. Some equipment will only be available with solid or foam-filled tires.
Machines will now be fitted with a tilt sensoralarm and override system that disables boom and drive functions if the incline exceeds the slope limit.
Chains and other flexible barriers can no longer be used as entrance gates.
All four sides of the platform must now have toe boards.
Small indoor forklifts will need taller railings. Some models will have folding rails that allow them to pass through standard doorways.
These updated requirements apply only to new equipment. Machines built before the new standards were implemented won’t need to be retrofitted.
Updates to MEWP Standards: Impact on Dealers and Users
MEWP dealers and rental companies will need to ensure the operating and safety manuals aboard the equipment reflect the latest changes. The most recent version of ANSI’s Manual of Responsibilities that includes all new definitions and requirements will need to be on board the equipment at all times.
The changes also set new standards for operating MEWPs. These include choosing equipment that’s right for the job, MEWP operator training, periodic inspections, maintenance & repair protocols and how to safely operate the equipment. The updated standards also call for creating customized safety programs centered around the correct use of MEWPs. The new standards are intended to ensure on-the-job safety of all workers. Here are some highlights:
– Operators must be properly trained and certified to operate the equipment
– Platform occupants must be thoroughly familiar with the new MEWP use and safety regulations, including understanding fall protection systems and knowing how to lower platforms in an emergency
– Supervisors will need to monitor individual operator performance to ensure compliance with the safety program
– Technicians must follow the manufacturer’s instructions when performing routine maintenance and repairs
It’s the responsibility of equipment rental companies to ensure their customers understand the new safety standards. This requires companies to be sure their technicians are familiar with the new equipment features and safety inspection standards.
Site Safety and Risk Assessment Plan for MEWPs
Employers are required to put together an MEWP site safety and risk assessment plan and share it with all workers. This plan must account for the following factors:
– Task that will be performed
– Use of an appropriate MEWP
– Risk assessment
– Control measures
– Safe work procedures
– Rescue plan for workers at heights
– Communication requirements
The plan should also be written down and included in an employer’s training manual. This helps ensure that workers can easily access the plan at their convenience.
When it comes to site safety and risk assessment planning for MEWPs, safety training is key. In fact, if an employer enrolls its workers in an MEWP safety training program, it can teach its staff about the importance of site safety and risk assessment planning. Perhaps best of all, this employer can promote best practices for MEWP safety to its workers and ensure its employees can operate MEWPs safely and in compliance with federal requirements.
Elevated Work Platform Safety: MEWP Training Requirements
MEWP training also applies to other workers. It’s now mandatory for supervisors, platform occupants, maintenance personnel and anyone else who comes into contact with MEWP equipment on a jobsite. Under ANSI’s new standards, training must be given by an instructor who’s familiar with and has hands-on experience operating the equipment. To qualify as a trainer, he or she also needs to be familiar with all current ANSI standards and OSHA regulations. These include safety practices, manufacturer’s requirements and specifications, and recognizing and avoiding potential jobsite hazards.
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