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How to Rescue Yourself from Being Stuck in an Aerial Lift

Power line team at work on a pole


Here’s the situation: you’re in an aerial lift. Everything is going as planned. You’re in a groove. Before you know it, your shift will be over and you’ll be back on the ground and ready to go home. Then, the unthinkable happens. Your aerial lift malfunctions and you’re stuck up in the air with nowhere to go.

Actually, this situation is not really “unthinkable.” At least it shouldn’t be. A well-trained aerial lift worker or aerial work platform (AWP) operator should be prepared for anything. This includes any scenario where the lift stops working, resulting in being stranded stories above the ground.

What’s the best way to “rescue” yourself from an immobile aerial lift? The best way is to avoid the situation in the first place.

Pre-emptive Procedure for Avoiding Getting Stranded in an Aerial Lift

Proper AWP safety includes a whole host of things to do BEFORE you ever get into the bucket. Often times, a worker ends up stick in a lift because it’s not properly maintained. If your aerial lift is on a regular maintenance schedule, the chances are you’ll never have to worry about this situation.

Another common cause of “stuck” aerial lifts involves the terrain. Muddy, wet surfaces basically act as quicksand with a large aerial lift, so make sure your construction site or other outdoor area surface can properly support your aerial lift.

Next, you should be aware of surrounding hazards. These include power lines, the ceiling (if you’re working inside, obviously), tree branches and other obstacles. Once you’re stuck, there’s a chance the aerial lift could move, shift, or (worst of all) totally collapse.

But what happens if you’ve taken all the necessary precautions, only to find yourself stuck? There are devices called “self-rescue kits” that, properly used, can safely transport workers to the ground. To use a self-rescue kit, thorough training is a necessity.

And speaking of training, Aerial Lift Certification offers superior aerial lift and aerial work platform safety courses. We cover all the basics, including some advanced concepts as well. Our course is simply the most complete, affordable, hassle-free aerial lift training program available today.

We have 3 different courses, each with targeted learning concepts. Whether you need the Train the Trainer, Training Kit or Bundle Package, we have what you’re looking for. Check out the ALC contact page or call our aerial lift OSHA safety experts at (888) 278-8896.

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