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Do Aerial Workers Need Fall Protection

(Updated July 2020)

All workers should be able to perform their jobs in a safe environment, particularly those who perform tasks in dangerous or risky environments. Few jobs are riskier than working at heights, which is why all aerial lift workers should receive fall protection certification training.

With fall protection certification training, aerial lift workers can safely complete tasks at heights. They can also learn about the different types of OSHA violations and how to avoid them.

Types of OSHA Violations: Here’s What You Need to Know

OSHA has mandates in place that employers must follow if they require workers to perform tasks at height. Thus, if your company requires workers to use boom or scissor lifts on a day-to-day basis, it needs to know about these mandates. In fact, if your company allocates time and resources to educate its workers about the different types of OSHA violations, it could create a work environment where safety reigns supreme.

What Are the Types of Osha Violations?

There are six types of OSHA violations:

– De Minimis

– Other-Than-Serious

– Serious

– Willful

– Repeated

– Failure to Abate

Aerial workers can learn about these violations and the penalties associated with them during an aerial lift safety training course. Additionally, these workers can gain insights into the top 10 OSHA violations and how to avoid them.

Top 10 OSHA Violations

Fall protection was the most cited OSHA violation in 2019, followed by:

– Hazard Communication

– Scaffolding — General Requirements

– Control of Hazardous Energy — Lockout/Tagout

– Respiratory Protection

– Ladders

– Powered Industrial Trucks

– Fall Protection – Training Requirements

– Machine Guarding — General Requirement

– Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection

By enrolling workers in an aerial lift safety training program, you can teach employees about the most prominent OSHA violations. Furthermore, this program provides aerial workers with tips and recommendations to minimize the risk of OSHA violations, along with details about how to correctly use fall protection equipment.

Why Is Fall Protection Equipment Important?

Boom lift fall protection is important for workers who use aerial work platforms (AWPs). Another reason why aerial workers require fall protection equipment: it’s the law.

OSHA has fall protection requirements in place for workers in many different types of jobs, including:

– Tree cutting

– Construction

– Maintenance

– Surveillance (police, security, etc.)

– Painting

– Window cleaning

– Electrical work

– Fixing elevated highway signs

– Bridge cleaning and repairs

If your employees are working on an aerial lift, they must be tied off, regardless of their job role or industry. The lone exception applies to scissor lift operators.

Rules for Booms and Scissor Lifts

OSHA requires workers to use a personal fall restraint system when they work on a boom lift. However, OSHA does not require workers to use a fall restraint system when they leverage a scissor lift.

Boom lift workers are at a high risk of getting ejected while up in the air. Traveling across uneven surfaces further increases this risk. To protect these workers, OSHA requires them to use both fall arrest and restraint systems.

Fall arrest systems protect workers during a fall. They limit the amount of force put on falling workers and stop them before hitting the ground.

Comparatively, fall restraint systems prevent falls from occurring in the first place. A fall restraint system serves as a leash that limits how far workers can move in any direction on a lift. The “leash” allows operators to work anywhere within the basket but does not reach far enough so they can climb up or out of it.

For scissor lift workers, there is little to no risk of getting ejected from the platform. A scissor lift’s guard rails provide a barrier to protect workers from falling. Therefore, OSHA does not mandate wearing fall protection for scissor lifts.

Plus, unlike boom lift fall protection requirements, scissor lifts don’t reach as high as other types of AWPs. They do require the guardrail system to provide “adequate” protection. This means no missing rails or any type of damage that could allow workers to fall. Some scissor lifts have anchor points workers can use for fall protection if they want. These anchor points are not required, but they must be ANSI-rated if provided.

Employers Must Provide Boom Lift Fall Protection Systems: Here’s Why

According to OSHA, employers must provide approved fall protection equipment, including aerial lift fall protection accessories. If employers don’t provide this important equipment, they may receive costly fines. Employers can comply with OSHA’s fall protection mandates by ensuring workers use a:

– Body belt with a tether anchored to the boom or basket (fall restraint)

– Body harness with a tether (fall restraint)

– Body harness with a lanyard (fall arrest)

Employers are in compliance with OSHA requirements as long as they use at least one of these techniques. Belts, harnesses, and lanyards can be obtained by buying aerial lift fall protection kits. These can be easily bought online or at big-box home improvement centers.

Keep in mind that providing fall protection equipment is only the first step to protect aerial lift workers against falls and other on-the-job dangers. Workers need aerial lift safety training to learn how to use fall protection equipment properly. They also need fall protection certification, so that their employer is OSHA-compliant. Most important, employers need to ensure that workers wear fall restraints any time they’re on a lift.

Other Reasons to Use Aerial Lift Fall Protection Equipment

Along with avoiding OSHA penalties, other reasons why aerial lift workers should wear fall protection equipment include:

1. You Could Save a Life

Falls are a leading cause of death among workers in construction and other industries in which aerial lifts are commonly used. But, with fall protection equipment, workers are well-equipped to avoid falls that otherwise can lead to accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

2. You Can Protect Your Workers and Your Business

OSHA often hits companies with fines up to $25,000 a single aerial lift violation. If the violations are frequent, fines can easily top $100,000. So, if you use fall protection equipment, you can avoid these fines altogether. You can also show your workers you are fully committed to doing everything possible to protect them against falls.

3. You Can Put Safety First

Clearly, saving lives is the #1 priority. And no company wants to pay out thousands or millions of dollars due to their own negligence. In the long run, every business should provide fall protection simply because it’s the right thing to do.

Sign Up for Aerial Lift Safety Training from AerialLiftCertification.com Today

At AerialLiftCertification.com, we make aerial lift safety training easily accessible to employers and their workers. We want your workers to get aerial lift safety training, so they can complete everyday tasks safely. As such, we provide comprehensive training to help workers quickly get up to speed. To learn more or to sign up for our training program, please contact us online or call us today at (888) 278–8896.

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