Aerial Lift Fall Protection Key Safety Points

There are few tools more essential to the construction industry than fall protection equipment. Like many key pieces of construction equipment, aerial lifts are incredibly useful – and incredibly dangerous. By taking the necessary precautions and wearing the right gear, fall protection safety can become second nature on your job site. 

Fall protection safety requirements are important for anyone using an aerial lift, cherry picker, scissor lift, aerial work platform (AWP), mobile elevating work platform (MEWP), boom lifts, and more. (ALC), the leader in online-based, OSHA-compliant safety training and compliance certification, provides everything your company needs for aerial lift fall protection requirements, including:

  • Which fall prevention equipment your workers need to stay safe
  • OSHA safety standards and guidelines
  • Key elements of a complete aerial lift fall protection kit
  • How to use lanyards, anchor points, harnesses and other aerial lift fall protection accessories
  • And much more

With our three training packages, your company enjoys comprehensive aerial lift training resources, including the most up-to-date information possible on aerial lift fall protection kits, the most recent guidelines, and complete aerial lift fall protection certification. Sign up today and become compliant!

Why Is Fall Protection Equipment Important?

If you’ve ever worked with aerial lifts, it’s easy to see why fall protection is important. Employees work at great heights to build, maintain, and repair everything from buildings to ships. Risk is inherent in these sorts of jobs, but with the right equipment, workers can stay safe. According to OSHA standard 1926.501(a), it is the employer’s “duty to have fall protection” measures in place for all employees.

Do you need to wear a harness in a boom lift or AWP? 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. However, some jobsite requirements may go the extra mile with safety and require an aerial lift fall protection kit for scissor lift operators. Always ensure your aerial lift fall protection requirements are aligned with your specific work site’s safety guidelines.

What the Statistics Say About Aerial Lift Fall Protection

Did you know that falls from aerial lifts, AWPs, MEWPs, boom lifts and similar equipment always ranks as one of the annual Top 10 OSHA Safety Violations? Year after year, just looking at the latest accident stats from OSHA, it’s not hard to realize how important aerial lift fall protection requirements are.

On average, anywhere from 20-30 workers are killed from job site falls, oftentimes from elevated work platforms like aerial lifts. Plus, approximately 400 U.S. workers are injured on the job from similar accidents. With aerial lift fall protection guidelines in place, your company can decrease the chance you’ll become part of these sobering statistics. And ALC can help close the gap with any training you need for anything related to using the proper fall prevention equipment to making sure you have OSHA approved aerial lift fall protection policies and procedures in place!

Types of Fall Protection Equipment

Fall protection equipment comes in a wide range of options. Depending on your specific duties on the construction job site, you may be tasked with using any number of fall protection safety gear. Here are a few of the most common types:

Personal Restraints for Boom 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 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.

Scissor Lift Guardrails

Scissor lift fall protection is essential even if 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.

Anchor points and guardrails aren’t the only fall protection equipment used in scissor lifts. Safety sensors can do wonders to alert workers to potential hazards. For instance, sensors can detect the weight of a load on a lift. When the lift begins approaching its maximum load capacity, sensors alert workers and minimize the risk of a tip-over accident. 

Other Fall Protection Wearables

Construction technology is constantly evolving. The latest in construction safety wearables make it easier than ever to keep tabs on safety. Sensor clips, for instance, can be worn on the vest, alerting supervisors should a fall occur. Workers even have the option to report an injury by pushing a button on the device. If an evacuation is necessary, alerts can be sent out to all workers using the clips.

Smart boots work in a similar way. RFID tags work to improve workflow information, but they can also alert supervisors to worker slips, trips, and falls. Fall protection safety has never been easier to implement.

Employers Must Provide Boom Lift Fall Protection Systems

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 importantly, employers need to ensure that workers wear fall restraints any time they’re on a lift.

Master Aerial Lift Fall Protection – Sign Up with ALC!

At, we make aerial lift safety training easily accessible to employers and their workers. We know first hand the importance that fall protection equipment plays on the average job site. 

Don’t take chances with your aerial lift fall protection requirements. You simply can’t afford the cost of non-compliance when it comes to aerial lift fall protection. And more importantly, your employees need the best possible training and OSHA compliant certification. Sign up with ALC today, and we’ll put you on the path to compliance.  To learn more or to sign up for our training program, please contact us online or call us today at (888) 278–8896.

Skip to content