types of liftsAerial lifts are essential pieces of equipment in a wide range of industries. The different types of lifts each have their own unique applications. Whether you rely upon internal combustion, battery-powered, or hybrid aerial work platforms, it’s important to be properly trained before using them. Employers are required to provide this training for their workers. A little education can go a long way to prevent accidents and keep your workplace OSHA compliant.

What Are the Different Types of Lifts?

Different types of aerial lifts were created with different jobs in mind. Some are made for working indoors, while others are made for handling extremely heavy loads. There are also types of man lifts that can travel over rough terrain. Once your workers receive their aerial lift certifications covering these different types of construction lifts, they’ll be ready to get to work and operate the type of aerial lift that’s best for the job at hand with confidence. Six of the most common types of lifts in use today include:

Cherry Pickers

Originally named for lift equipment used in orchards to harvest fruit too high on the tree to pick from the ground, cherry pickers are the type of aerial lift most commonly found in general use today. They’re mounted on vehicles and have an aerial platform supported by a boom, from which workers complete their tasks. Cherry pickers are still used today for picking hard to reach fruit, as well as accessing overhead utility lines, trimming trees, and a wide range of construction and maintenance work.

Personnel Lifts

Sometimes called people lifts, these mechanical ladders are among the most popular yet somewhat different types of man lifts in use today. Personnel lifts offer greater stability than regular ladders, are easy to set up and store and can reach heights approaching 50 ft. Although this kind of construction lift may seem simple, aerial lift training is still required for them to be used properly.

Articulating Boom Lifts

Different types of lifts come with unique strengths and challenges. An articulating boom lift, or ABL, is a type of crane that can be repositioned while keeping the basket at a steady height. Designed for working above ground, articulating boom lifts have two hinged joints, which give them greater flexibility than other aerial lifts and cranes. With full 360-degree rotation capabilities, ABLs are ideal for maintenance work, construction, landscaping, and other jobs that require accessing hard to reach areas. There are, however, certain risks inherent in operating or working from an articulating boom. Because they’re often employed to access tough to reach work areas, the risk of being crushed or struck by falling objects increases dramatically.

Telescopic Boom Lifts

A telescopic boom lift is a work platform that can be extended and retracted with tubular sections that slide in and out. A telescopic boom lift is usually more expensive than other types of aerial lifts and capable of reaching heights of up to 100 ft. It is used for trimming trees, HVAC system installation and maintenance, working on bridges, accessing multi-story buildings from outside, painting, fire rescues, and even helping stranded riders on a stalled roller coaster. 

Scissor Lifts

Reaching heights up to 60 ft., scissor lifts have an accordion-style mechanism to elevate workers for construction work, painting, window washing, HVAC system installation and maintenance, and other overhead. Unlike other types of lifts, they’re considered to be a form of scaffolding. 

Towable Boom Lifts

Lightweight and portable, towable boom lifts are great for working in yards, gyms, and light industrial jobs. As the name suggests, they can be towed just about anywhere. Being one of the most convenient types of construction lift, safety protocols for towable boom lifts are often skipped over. As such, workers can be more prone to operate towable boom lifts with a casual attitude, which can lead to accidents, injuries and property damage. But, towable boom lifts need to be operated just as carefully as other types of construction and man lifts.

Telescopic Forklifts

Commonly referred to as telehandlers, telescopic forklifts combine a telescopic boom lift with a traditional construction lift. A typical telehandler has a reach up to 21 ft. Telehandlers enable operators to transport items over rough terrain and long distances. They often have oversized tires and a reinforced cage cab.

Evaluating Different Types of Lifts

Determining which type of lift to use for your next construction project can be a confusing process. Take a look at several lift options. You can then gain insights into how different types of lifts work and their respective advantages and disadvantages and make an informed decision. As you weigh your options, keep the following considerations in mind:

Space and Weight

One of the first things to consider when choosing an aerial lift is the amount of space you have to work with. If you’re working in a small warehouse or on a construction site with limited space, you’ll want to choose a smaller lift such as a scissor lift or boom lift. For larger jobs, such as painting the exterior of a building, you’ll need a larger lift such as a cherry picker or spider lift.

Type of Movement

Another important consideration is the type of movement you need from your lift. If you need to move horizontally and vertically, a scissor lift is your best bet. Boom lifts are ideal for reaching high places, while cherry pickers are perfect for moving around large objects. Spider lifts are great for getting into tight spaces.

Power Source

Aerial lifts can be powered by either electricity or gasoline. Electric lifts are typically more expensive than gas-powered lifts, but they’re also more environmentally friendly and easier to operate. If you’re working in an indoor area or around sensitive equipment, an electric lift is a good choice. If you’re working outdoors or in a remote location, a gas-powered lift is probably your best option.

The Importance of Safety Training for Construction Lifts

No matter which types of lifts you use in your construction business, safety and success depends largely on training. ALC’s aerial lift certification training programs are designed to equip lift operators with the skills required to operate construction lifts, perform necessary inspections, avoid hazards, and prevent accidents on the job.

If you fail to adequately train your team, your employees may struggle with falls, tip-overs, lift collapses, electrocution, and collisions with overhead or falling objects. The good news? These hazards can be easily avoided with proper training. Since our course can be completed in about an hour’s time, there’s no excuse not to educate your team. Completing this training can also help your organization avoid expensive OSHA fines and penalties.

Get Your Aerial Lift Certification

As the country’s number one online provider of aerial lift certification training AerialLiftCertification.com will provide your workers with top quality, comprehensive training for the various types of construction lifts. Through our OSHA-compliant training, your workers can be certified in as little as one hour. Our programs include the use of all different types of man lifts with a minimal investment of time and money.

Here are ALC’s training courses for various types of aerial lifts:

Training Kit

This is a comprehensive certification training course for all types of aerial lifts that’s affordable, practical, and ideal for improving workplace safety. Regardless of the types of construction lifts your company uses, this course is perfect for completing OSHA compliant training. A one-time payment of just $299 will train and certify all your current and future employees!

Train A Trainer

Our self-paced Train a Trainer kit teaches and certifies one or more of your workers to train and certify your other workers and future hires. For just $149, you’ll have the convenience of your own in-house trainer on hand at all times!

Bundle Package

Can’t decide between the two? Then our Bundle Package that includes our other two programs is for you! The Bundle Package is value priced at just $349, which is a savings of $50 over purchasing the two courses separately.

No matter what types of construction lifts used by your company, it’s absolutely essential that your employees are OSHA compliant and prepared to operate all types of lifts efficiently and safely. Sign up your employees now for AerialLiftCertification.com training and you’ll be on your way to a safer and more productive working environment!

Types of Aerial Lift FAQs

At ALC, we get asked questions about different types of lifts all the time. Allow us to answer a few of our most frequently asked questions:

What’s the Difference Between an Aerial Lift and a Scissor Lift?

According to OSHA, an aerial lift is a vehicle-mounted platform that‘s capable of moving vertically, horizontally or both. OSHA classifies a scissor lift as a type of scaffolding with a work platform that can only be moved vertically.

Why are Some Lifts Called Cherry Pickers?

Cherry pickers got their name from aerial work platforms that were used in orchards to harvest fruit too high on the tree to be picked by hand from the ground. Still used in fruit orchards today, these types of lifts are also used for working on overhead utility lines, cleaning and painting tasks, fire rescues, as well as filming sporting events and other competitions from above.

What are the Different Types of Boom Lifts?

Common types of lifts include articulating, telescopic, and towable. The right boom lift for a jobsite depends on the tasks that must be performed at a jobsite.

How High Does an Aerial Lift Reach?

Most types of lifts can reach between 20 and 60 feet off the ground. Specialized lifts can reach even further, up to 200 feet. As you select the right lift for your needs, consider any special requirements. For instance, indoor projects rarely warrant lifts that extend more than 40 feet. If you’re outside cleaning windows, however, you may need a lift that extends far further.

What Kinds of Projects are Aerial Lifts Used For?

There are as many different types of lifts as there are applications. If you’re completing a project that requires you to access heights, an aerial lift will certainly come in handy. Washing windows is a prime example, but aerial lifts are also used in the painting of facades, the servicing of cable lines, roof repair work, and tree pruning. No matter the goal, aerial lifts can provide workers with safe access on the job.

Can You Use an Aerial Lift as a Crane?

While aerial lifts are undeniably versatile, they have their limits. In fact, OSHA does not allow aerial lifts to be used as cranes. That’s because they’re not designed for that purpose. When you try using an aerial lift to do the work of a crane, you risk worker safety. Skip the experimentation and make sure you have the right equipment for the job before you begin working.

Do Workers Need to be Certified to Operate these Types of Lifts?

Workers must receive OSHA-compliant safety training before they can legally operate machine-powered aerial work platforms. The training teaches workers how to safely operate various types of lifts, how to identify jobsite dangers, how to avoid lift accidents, and more.

Can Workers Earn Their Aerial Lift Certification Online?

Online aerial lift certification training is valid. An online certification training program is accessible on a desktop or laptop computer or mobile device. It lets workers complete lessons at their convenience. Upon completion, workers can download and print out their aerial lift certification and operator card. From there, they’ll be ready to operate construction lifts and be in compliance with OSHA regulations. 

Is There a Time Limit for Aerial Lift Certification Training?

Workers can complete aerial lift certification training as quickly as they choose. For some workers, ALC’s training program can be completed in as little as one hour. Or, for others, they can take their time as they build the skills necessary to properly operate different types of lifts.

Do Aerial Lift Certifications Expire?

Aerial lift certifications generally expire three years from the date of issue or the last renewal. Exceptions are when a worker is involved in an accident while using a forklift or when a new type of lift is brought into the workplace, aerial lift refresher training may be required sooner than three years.

It helps to track your workers’ aerial lift certification status. If a worker’s aerial lift certification will expire soon, ensure he or she enrolls in safety training. That way, the worker can maintain their status as an OSHA-compliant aerial lift operator. Plus, you can avoid possible fines and penalties associated with letting an unauthorized worker use a lift at your jobsite.

Learn More About Construction Lifts with ALC

It’s challenging to cover every detail of these multi-faceted machines in one place. Thankfully, our coursework includes in-depth explanation of the various types of lifts you’ll encounter in the workplace. When you’re ready to start training, reach out online or give us a call at (888) 278-8896. We’re here to answer any questions you might have and get you learning new skills in no time!